McCaskill: If communities want federal law enforcement funds, cops should wear cameras
August 27th, 2014
12:09 AM ET
8 years 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. Harvesting

    I agree as long as all federal and State employees follow, that will give the NSA data for their servers.

    August 27, 2014 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  2. Tom

    officers DO wear cameras in most places... but officers don't typically shoot someone for no reason, so..

    August 27, 2014 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  3. LazyCitizens

    Politicians should wear cameras all the times too! Their ability to wantonly spend trillions of dollars while pandering to special interests need to be exposed. Taking food, jobs, education from all of us.

    August 27, 2014 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  4. Howard

    won't matter. Cameras will be turnedoff or unavailable when someone is killed or brutalized.

    August 27, 2014 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  5. Dateless Nerd

    Wow! A common sense response to this emotionally-charged issue. Thank you, Senator McCaskill. Police are public officials, and their interactions with the public should be documented. That protects the public from police misconduct, and protects the police from false accusations.

    August 27, 2014 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  6. Brett

    So should politicians

    August 27, 2014 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  7. Michaek Cantrell

    Police officers should wear cameras.

    In this way no one can lie!

    Because a camera doesn't care what point of view you have.

    It will record only the truth!

    August 27, 2014 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  8. KevinS

    I really doubt defense lawyers would be thrilled with that requirement.

    August 27, 2014 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  9. mabel Morris

    I believe it would great if all black leaders in their communities advocated that all black men should acquire/purchase body cameras, so that in the event their are stopped by police their can be a recording of the interaction...I believe the proposal that was given by Senator MaCaskill with fought against people with clandestine agendas. However, if black men make this investment in the long run it ill definitely pay off for their race and the change the way community policing is done in America..Also, as a black man,Black men,black; we need to stop using this excuse of how white treat us, and look at how we treat is really disheartening the way we continue to kill each other,and involve ourselves in illegal activities...Poverty is not and excuse..there are many nation the are poorer in the world but do not succumb themselves to the way we indulge in killing each other and other bad behavior...Importantly, more is needed from out so call black leaders...where is the leadership displayed by them...As a black man I am tired of the excuses

    August 27, 2014 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  10. Yes They Should

    And they should record audio and video the whole time the cop is on duty. Also a third party needs to be in charge of managing the cameras. Cops like to turn off such equipment sometimes.

    August 27, 2014 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  11. vince

    Would you also agree to force convicted felons to wear cameras at all times, so that it's not just a one-sided obligation?

    August 27, 2014 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  12. cesar

    Yeah, like law enforcement would want that...then they would be forced to behave as a sworn officer should.

    August 27, 2014 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  13. bum4evr

    bad cops don't want to wear cameras- so they will fight this proposal

    August 27, 2014 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  14. John Smith

    For once a federal official make good sense. As a retired copy, I agree the body cameras will help everyone, and especially the good dedicated police officers, and the only officers it will harm are the few bad apples that get through the system.

    August 27, 2014 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  15. Cruz Control

    good idea

    August 27, 2014 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  16. Thomas

    I agree and I think she said it well and not politically 'flavored' concerning the camera. This would protect BOTH the public and the police.

    August 27, 2014 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  17. Harry

    Someone in Government finally gets what the people have been saying for the past decade. They already have dash cams. Body cams would protect the public and the officer both. The recent issue in MO could have been easily resolved within hours with a body cam on the officer.

    August 27, 2014 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  18. BR

    I think senators should also wear cameras.

    August 27, 2014 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  19. Vence

    Good idea!

    August 27, 2014 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  20. rick

    Well this should rattle a few. If it goes into effect. The bet is that MANY will try and prevent that from ever happening. And also betting will show indisputable proof that these millitary weapons should have stayed in millitary hands only. There are too many "missing" weapons that should have been locked up tight. And if cameras are used now. A lot of "incidents" will stop happening. But it will not. Because the toys wont be given up without a fight. You can absolutly bet on that. The cameras will force the ones wearing them to start acting like supposed to have in first place. Instead of what has came out from across america of excessive use of force in hundreds of comunities. At least a over armed officer hasnt shot up a birthday party.. Yet..!

    August 27, 2014 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  21. jcs6

    Society should ask why so many cops oppose this idea. It would make the job less fun.

    August 27, 2014 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  22. Foolmemore

    I wish elected officials would where cameras and audio recording devices, this way you'll know exactly how your congressmen is trying to screw you and why.

    August 27, 2014 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  23. Alott

    Why don't we all just cut out the middle man (the Feds) and pay taxes to our individual states? Then, the states can simply perform the services that the federal government performs. Anything that the Feds are actually SUPPOSED to do (Constitutionally) can be paid for with Corporate taxes. That way, the Feds can't pull this extortion act any longer – holding up highway funds, interstate commerce trickery, etc. The Feds ONLY have their illicit power because "We the People" are simply too scared to stand up to them.

    August 27, 2014 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  24. Democrat Junk

    Bill from GA....The Fed is NOT the Obama administration...Its considered independent because its monetarypolicy decisions do not have to be approved by the President of the United States and almost always are not. Keeping interest rates low is not an action that BO had a hand in. The Fed has kept this economy afloat as well as being the cause of the great market returns that you retirement plan is enjoyin if you are responsibly invested in stocks.

    August 27, 2014 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  25. Kingregis

    All pigs should wear cameras. Keep them honest.

    August 27, 2014 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
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