McCaskill: If communities want federal law enforcement funds, cops should wear cameras
August 27th, 2014
12:09 AM ET
4 months ago

McCaskill: If communities want federal law enforcement funds, cops should wear cameras

(CNN) – Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill said Tuesday that police officers across the country should be required to wear body cameras in order for their departments to qualify for federal funds.

McCaskill believes that the ubiquity of cameras gives way to incidents in which only part of the story is recorded, seen or understood. So, a body camera on every officer will not only protect citizens against police misconduct, but also protect officers from wrongful accusations.

"Everywhere I go people now have cameras," said McCaskill, a Democrat. "And police officers are now at a disadvantage, because someone can tape the last part of an encounter and not tape the first part of the encounter. And it gives the impression that the police officer has overreacted when they haven't."

McCaskill made the comments at an event in Springfield, Missouri, where she answered questions about the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, CNN affiliate KOLR reported.

In the wake of the shooting and community outrage to the response from Ferguson police, McCaskill has called for congressional hearings to examine a Defense Department program that allows local police departments to acquire military weaponry.

Already, President Barack Obama has called for a review of programs that allow for the transfer of military weapons to the police.

Section 1208 in the National Defense Authorization Act has allowed the Defense Department to grant military hardware to local law enforcement since 1990. A law enforcement support program, the military's Defense Logistics Agency, was established in 1999 to facilitate law enforcement militarization.

McCaskill said Thursday she hopes the Senate will embrace her body camera proposal and that it will eventually become law.

"I would like to see us say, 'If you want federal funding in your community, you've got to have body cams on your officers,'" she said. "And I think that would go a long way towards solving some of these problems, and it would be a great legacy over this tragedy that's occurred in Ferguson, regardless of what the facts say at the end as to whether or not anyone is criminally culpable."

soundoff (137 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "My question is why do they always aim for the head or chest, and not the feet.

    Police are trained that they never resort to their firearm unless the intent is to use lethal force and use it effectively. Training them to resort to the weapon for anything short of a situation in which shoot-to-kill is believed to be absolutely necessary, would result in them using their firearms a whole lot more often (and wouldn't that be fun?). Once you remove the rule that they are ONLY to shoot when protection of their own life or others' lives is absolutely necessary, allowing something less to justify use of the firearm, you suddenly have a situation where the standard becomes wishy-washy and the rules are no longer clear.

    August 27, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. Sniffit

    "However, why can't you acknowledge that he was wrong about them having to pay for it?"

    Because, again, they don't acquire the equipment ONLY through the 1033 program. Some departments will literally go out and spend $800K on an MRAP.

    August 27, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. tom l

    And once again you generalize while knowing absolutely nothing about me. I've seen dirty cops. I've even experienced them. I had one pull me over for absolutely nothing and then ask for my phone number. We had one here that used to turn off his dash cam and pick up females and give them a choice to Lewinsky him or go to jail. Don't you think those females had a right to be protected as much as the cops? The difference between us is I know there are good and bad cops and I believe a person is innocent until proven guilty. And cops should be punished just as harshly as anyone else
    ====

    Why are so incredibly adversarial with every post I make. You are actually the one generalizing all cops. You are the one that said they wouldn't want the cams because then they wouldn't be able to maintain their reign of terror. That means that you believe that most cops are bad and all I was saying was there are probably more good cop than bad cops. Here is a perfect example of where we agree on something. We both think that the cameras would be a good idea. But based on your stories with some bad cops, which I believe to be true because I know there are bad cops, there are also good cops out there that would unquestionable welcome this. Sheesh. I don't understand why you feel the need to jump down my throat for every comment; especially ones that we agree on to some degree.

    August 27, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. PaulCat

    On another hand, has anyone asked congress how are they going to OFFSET the $350,000 / $500.00 per-hour pay / taxpayers money they are giving this law firm to sue Obama? But yet, the american people can't get a $10.10 per-hour pay.

    August 27, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. sifto77

    Ol yeller..you sure get personal...I am not talking about innocent children..I am talking about good cops that put their lives on the line every day for you and yours..you people on here have a hate on for all police which is unwarranted..

    August 27, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. salty dog

    You should have seen the swat truck we worked on, it was headed to Flint, and the thing was brand new, not a hand me down, so yes, police forces are paying for unnecessary equipment, IMO.

    August 27, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. Bill from GA

    Why stop with cops??

    Let's make EVERYONE wear body cameras, ALL the time!!

    Big Brother, Thou Art We.

    August 27, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. Tone

    Lizzie
    Next time you get held up, robbed, have a accident, break-in, domestic violance, do NOT call a cop, you don't care for them.

    The only cops i care for are good cops, not racist, or corrupt cops who has one set of standards for white people, and different set of standards for everyone else. There are excellent cops out there, but there are always bad apples in every department, and they come in all colors.

    August 27, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Sheesh. I don't understand why you feel the need to jump down my throat for every comment; especially ones that we agree on to some degree."

    Most folks react negatively to being baited, tom. Of course, you already know this.

    August 27, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. Tone

    Sniffit

    "My question is why do they always aim for the head or chest, and not the feet.

    Police are trained that they never resort to their firearm unless the intent is to use lethal force and use it effectively. Training them to resort to the weapon for anything short of a situation in which shoot-to-kill is believed to be absolutely necessary, would result in them using their firearms a whole lot more often (and wouldn't that be fun?). Once you remove the rule that they are ONLY to shoot when protection of their own life or others' lives is absolutely necessary, allowing something less to justify use of the firearm, you suddenly have a situation where the standard becomes wishy-washy and the rules are no longer clear.

    I agree to some extent, but what i cannot understand is if the person is unharmed then why shoot to kill.

    August 27, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. Tom1940

    If Sen McCaskill were "serious" she would be talking about issues that are "meaningful", not grasping onto the coat tails of Al Sharpton and Jackson in stirring the pot on events in Missouri that are proving to be an embarrassment to them all. Seems the "gentle giant" scenario, story has more holes in it than the Hindenburg. The cop could be vindicated, particularly when his fractured eye socket, "just didn't happen", but in effect he thought he was fighting for his life. Amazing what the truth does to the mis-information and racial pot stirring of outside interests who I guess might have a particular "agenda" they are pushing, rather than an interest in truth, justice and "actual" facts. I for one, would have hoped the investigation would have been concluded and facts brought out, before the rabble, press, supposed civil rights leaders, etc., were trying to "lynch" the white police officer – (without benefit of trial or even his side of the story being told). Enough already! Just let the criminal justice system grind through the issues, sort them out, and let the DA do his thing. Public opinion is not the best way to dispense justice. That was, I believe, why the founding fathers wrote the Constitution, Bill of Rights and etc.

    August 27, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. tom l

    Lynda/Minnesota

    "Sheesh. I don't understand why you feel the need to jump down my throat for every comment; especially ones that we agree on to some degree."

    Most folks react negatively to being baited, tom. Of course, you already know this.
    ====

    That I can agree with you on.

    August 27, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  13. tom l

    sifto77

    Ol yeller..you sure get personal...I am not talking about innocent children..I am talking about good cops that put their lives on the line every day for you and yours..you people on here have a hate on for all police which is unwarranted..

    ====

    Couldn't agree with you more on this post.

    August 27, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. tom l

    Rudy NYC

    Tom l

    Actually, I was half wrong. He is right that they have to pay for maintenance. However, why can't you acknowledge that he was wrong about them having to pay for it?
    ---------–
    Old Yeller nailed you to the wall, dude. Why don't you just simply admit that they do not pay for it? It seems that they must pay to transport the stuff back home, but they do not pay a single dime for the actual the equipment itself.

    =======

    Ummm, it was Sniffit who said they paid for the equipment. So I guess he really ol yeller really nailed Sniffit, not me. Thanks for the clarification. Try to keep up rather than chiming in midway through our back and forth. You do that a lot and try to confuse people. I guess that's just your m.o.

    August 27, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. tom l

    Tried to post this yesterday and I really want Rudy to see this:

    Rudy NYC says:
    August 26, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm
    “Please find one comment where I “vehemently defend everything the GOP are doing and saying”.”
    I offer you the same challenge that you offered me. Name one thing the GOP is doing that you oppose. Clock starts now.
    —–/
    I can easily accomplish something you cannot. So I oppose their societal issues – from gay marriage bans, to abortion bans to their stance on legalization of drugs/marijuana. I oppose the Patriot Act that are staunch supporters of. I am against their foreign follies and intervention into so many places around the globe. I would prefer that rather than just opposing the ACA, that they have a concrete rebuttal that is less govt influenced rather than the lack of a plan they have now. I think we should be legalizing the people here illegally and look at a way to make them permanent here but I believe they need to have a cost for jumping to the front if the line- and I’m not talking about some superfluous fine. Something that will make future people think twice before cheating the system. There are a few more that I could easily name but I think you can see how foolish you look.
    Especially since you can’t name one thing that you agree with repubs on.

    Game. Set. Match. I have just demonstrated to you that you are the extremist who only agrees with one party on every single issue.

    August 27, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  16. Bill from GA

    Democrat Junk – " Bill from GA....The Fed is NOT the Obama administration "

    The head of the Fed is appointed by the President, giving the Prez influence in the direction the Fed moves. The Prez could appoint one who would manage the flow of money tightly, or loosely. The recent appointment of Janet Yellen is a decision that would probably not have been made by Mitt Romney.

    In the context of the original statement of the President's influence on the good stock market performance, Obama's stimulus plan when he first took office, along with the bank bailout started under W, but with no republican support since, is the major reason our economy is doing relatively well (especially when compared with where it was when Obama first took office) while Europe's is still stagnant.

    August 27, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. smith

    @Tom l-Some on here just want to argue even when there is a mutual agreement about a subject.

    August 27, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  18. JB

    And so should every elected politician.

    August 27, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    The difference in the way teens of differing complexions are treated is atrocious. A few years ago my neighbors son was caught with a tiny bag of weed. When he went to court there were two teen boys there on an armed robbery charge. One dark, one light. The dark kid was the driver and stayed in the car during the actual robbery. The other kid had the gun and actually committed the robbery. The kid that actually committed the crime was given a bond while the driver was denied his. I should probably add they were in a suburban county where walking down the street looking a certain way can get you locked up.

    Let's see if this makes the cut.

    August 27, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  20. Bill from GA

    Marie MD – " That would certainly stop some of the unbalance of shooting Blacks and not whites doing the same thing or worse. "

    My local newspaper reported a 'fact-check' recently on that topic. They found that in a period of over 10 years, 3596 Whites were killed by police, and 1463 Blacks. There is more to it than just the numbers, but your statement is not true and is race-baiting as well.

    August 27, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. Bill from GA

    Rudy NYC

    Anonymous

    Ironic that this particular police force doesn't wear body cameras or have dash cams in their cars, but they have an armored personnel carrier in their fleet.
    --------
    With as many revenue generating traffic stops that they have been reported to have carried out, one would think that they would have dashcams.

    ________________

    The armored personnel carrier was FREE. Government surplus.

    Think of all the revenue generating traffic stops they will have to perform to pay the thousands of dollars for those cameras. :)

    August 27, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Tom1940

    If Sen McCaskill were "serious" she would be talking about issues that are "meaningful", not grasping onto the coat tails of Al Sharpton and Jackson in stirring the pot on events in Missouri that are proving to be an embarrassment to them all. Seems the "gentle giant" scenario, story has more holes in it than the Hindenburg. The cop could be vindicated, particularly when his fractured eye socket, "just didn't happen", but in effect he thought he was fighting for his life.
    ----------------------------
    Someone needs to point out that you're grasping onto coattails, too. Why couldn't the cop use a taser? Do you realize that according to witness accounts and that of the cop's friend, the officer initiated the encounter. He had initially stopped the teens, who began to walk away, which is when the maneuvered is vehicle to block their path. The encounter apparently escalated from there. Those are "facts" that seem to agree with all statements so far.

    August 27, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  23. Fair is Fair

    smith

    @Tom l-Some on here just want to argue even when there is a mutual agreement about a subject.
    ----------
    I've seen posters on here who agree with them 95% of the time get crucified for the 5% they don't agree with.

    August 27, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    salty dog

    You should have seen the swat truck we worked on, it was headed to Flint, and the thing was brand new, not a hand me down, so yes, police forces are paying for unnecessary equipment, IMO.
    -------------------------
    That law enforcement group was not participating in 1033. Everything obtained through 1033 is free of charge.

    August 27, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. Sniffit

    "And so should every elected politician."

    Haha! Seconded!

    August 27, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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