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

    I wish this request of wearing body cams could have come from POLICE themselves and not vice versa. Always it doesn't work well when a person to be protected tells what instrument he requires.

    August 27, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  2. Sniffit

    "Uh, the defense department program GIVES the surplus equipment away. The police don't pay for it. "

    Actually, I think they do pay for some of it. Regardless, they have to divert funds to upkeep, repair and maintenance once they have the excessive equipment, so any way you slice it, it's still an expense they were incurring instead of buying dash-cams etc.

    August 27, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  3. DH

    Dear dem junk....... President Obama saved your 401k, my 401k and our entire economy Jan 2009, by the decisions HE made to drag this country back from the cliff the GOP failed policies threw us over.

    August 27, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. sonny chapman

    Free Stuff !!! My Daddy once said."If it's free, you don't want too much of it."

    August 27, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Sniffit

    "WOW talk about Big Brother is watching."

    Did it make a buzzing sound when it flew right over your head?
    -----------------------------------------------------
    ROFLMAO!
    You have to wonder though, did it??!

    August 27, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. Tone

    Even if a cam is on the police, some bigot within the justice system will find some loop hole to get the cop off the hook, especially when the incident involves a white officer and a black teen. My question is why do they always aim for the head or chest, and not the feet. Why when it comes to unarmed black teen they always kill like they are not human, their lives are worth nothing.

    August 27, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  7. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Lily says:
    August 27, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am
    I wish this request of wearing body cams could have come from POLICE themselves and not vice versa. Always it doesn’t work well when a person to be protected tells what instrument he requires.

    Really? Do you also believe in unicorns and fairies?? Why would the cops request something like this when they know this is the one thing that could end their reign of terror?

    August 27, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  8. Tom l

    Sniffit says:
    August 27, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am
    “Uh, the defense department program GIVES the surplus equipment away. The police don’t pay for it. ”

    Actually, I think they do pay for some of it. Regardless, they have to divert funds to upkeep, repair and maintenance once they have the excessive equipment, so any way you slice it, it’s still an expense they were incurring instead of buying dash-cams etc.
    -–

    You have no idea where're they pay or not. You have completely made that up. You have no idea whether they for maintenance, again you are hair just making that up.

    That being said, I actually think the cameras are a good idea even though it is a bit big brotherish. I think it will help protect cops and the people they come in to contact with so we will have a lot more info the next time another Ferguson happens.

    August 27, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Tone says:
    August 27, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am
    Even if a cam is on the police, some bigot within the justice system will find some loop hole to get the cop off the hook, especially when the incident involves a white officer and a black teen. My question is why do they always aim for the head or chest, and not the feet. Why when it comes to unarmed black teen they always kill like they are not human, their lives are worth nothing.

    I've often wondered the very same thing Tone. Several years ago in Detroit a family called the police on one of their family members who was mentally disabled. They wanted the cops to take him to the Psychiatric hospital. When the cops arrived the man had a rake in his hands, a rake. Needless to say the cops gunned him down. I remember saying what was he going to do rake them to death??

    I wasn't allowed to chime in yesterday but I too would like to thank you for your service to this country.👏👏

    August 27, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. Ol' Yeller

    @Tom I
    Stars and Stripes Aug. 14th 2014
    "The 1033 Program was an invention of Congress, not the Pentagon. It came into being through the 1990-1991 National Defense Authorization Act, and the program’s original scope was much narrower than it is today. As the federal government’s “war on drugs” escalated, the 1990-1991 NDAA authorized the transfer of excess DOD property to federal and state agencies for use in counterdrug activities… (blah, blah, blah)…. More than 8,000 law enforcement agencies around the country participate in 1033. Since the program’s inception, the Pentagon has transferred property worth $5.1 billion. Last year, half a billion dollars’ worth of gear was transferred, according to the Defense Logistics Agency, which manages the transfers.
    Equipment is free, but law enforcement agencies must pay maintenance and transportation costs."

    Fail.

    August 27, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  11. tom l

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Lily says:
    August 27, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am
    I wish this request of wearing body cams could have come from POLICE themselves and not vice versa. Always it doesn’t work well when a person to be protected tells what instrument he requires.

    Really? Do you also believe in unicorns and fairies?? Why would the cops request something like this when they know this is the one thing that could end their reign of terror?
    =====

    I would say the huge majority of cops are good, decent men and women. Of course there are bad cops but most of them would probably welcome this type of instrument to protect them from false claims. It would also help to change the minds of people like you who have utter contempt for a cop. I don't think you have any appreciation for the job they do and how they risk their lives

    August 27, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. Sniffit

    "You have no idea whether they for maintenance, again you are hair just making that up. "

    What? First, I think it's clear from what I said that I'm not sure how much of it they pay for. Under the 1033 Program they get the surplus equipment free but have to pay for delivery...but they also acquire the military grade equipment in other ways. As for upkeep, do you think there's no cost whatsoever associated with owning and caring for massive IED-proofed MRAP armored vehicles, storing and properly maintaining enough stockpiled para-military weaponry and equipment to put together a show of force and trigger happy tear gas mayhem like the Ferguson police department did? No cost associated with training to use the new and excessive equipment? Have you never looked at a municipal budget? For someone who likes to jibba jabba that "nothing's free" whenever people want to use government money to actually help people, you sure change your tune when you're desperately trying to defend turning local police forces into an Orwellian nightmare.

    As for "big brotherish," that's absurd. "Big Brother" is meant to refer to the government invading the privacy and freedoms of everyday citizens. This is about the gov't keeping an eye on its own agents in order to promote more accountability and protect everyday citizens from gov't overreach...you know, overreach like "I get to rough you up or shoot you because I AM the government."

    August 27, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    "I'd be very interested, WUP, in the answer to the question that you posed the other day about how many incidents there have been of Black cops who have shot unarmed white youths."
    ----------------------------------
    I didn't know of any until earlier this week when I asked the same question. I forget the kid's name, but he was shot in or around the Denver area 3-4 days after Brown was shot. An investigation is underway. The kid has a long arrest history, including arrests for violence. He also had at least two arrests in the 30 days leading up to his being shot.

    August 27, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. Tom l

    Ok Yeller,
    Fair enough. I was wrong.

    August 27, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. J Anthony

    People need to understand that the Federal Reserve is not tthe government bank...it is privately owned annd controlled by a conglomerate of international banking institutions. We have been take for a long ride, and we need to do something abbout it. The reason for the national debt is that our money-supply is created as a debt to private bankers.

    August 27, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. Sniffit

    "I don't think you have any appreciation for the job they do and how they risk their lives"

    I don't think you have any appreciation for what it's like being a member of the minority community being policed by an almost all-white police force that has for decades nurtured an institutionalized culture of authoritarian overreach, abuse and inequitable law enforcement.

    The examples in St. Louis and around the country are legion and they continue to pile up every day. They are not the exception; they are the rule in some areas. It does not require every cop to be a racist or a horrible human being. It just takes a few of them and the rest behaving like enablers.

    August 27, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. Boomer in Mo

    Once a piece of equipment is transferred, the receiving agency pays for operation costs, repair/maintenance and fuel. Our tiny sheriff's department has an MRAP they can't afford to use because it gets about 1 mpg. They need to give it back but won't 'cause it makes them feel like real men to have it parked in front of the jail.

    August 27, 2014 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  18. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    tom l says:
    August 27, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am
    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross…..

    Lily says:
    August 27, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am
    I wish this request of wearing body cams could have come from POLICE themselves and not vice versa. Always it doesn’t work well when a person to be protected tells what instrument he requires.

    Really? Do you also believe in unicorns and fairies?? Why would the cops request something like this when they know this is the one thing that could end their reign of terror?
    =====

    I would say the huge majority of cops are good, decent men and women. Of course there are bad cops but most of them would probably welcome this type of instrument to protect them from false claims. It would also help to change the minds of people like you who have utter contempt for a cop. I don’t think you have any appreciation for the job they do and how they risk their lives

    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.

    August 27, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. 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?

    August 27, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  20. smith

    @Tone-Really? Aim for the feet? Your always taught to shoot center mass. Also, shooting at the feet can easily cause a defelection(striking off the pavement) and strike a yourself or somebody else. A good solution would be to issue more taser guns.

    August 27, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  21. 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.

    August 27, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Rudy NYC

    "I'd be very interested, WUP, in the answer to the question that you posed the other day about how many incidents there have been of Black cops who have shot unarmed white youths."
    ------------
    I didn't know of any until earlier this week when I asked the same question. I forget the kid's name, but he was shot in or around the Denver area 3-4 days after Brown was shot. An investigation is underway. The kid has a long arrest history, including arrests for violence. He also had at least two arrests in the 30 days leading up to his being shot.
    ==================================================
    CORRECTION:
    The kid's name was Dillon Taylor and he was shot in the Utah City area, and the officer was wearing a body cam. The video is reported that it will be released *after* the investigation is concluded.

    August 27, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  23. Tone

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Tone says:
    August 27, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am
    Even if a cam is on the police, some bigot within the justice system will find some loop hole to get the cop off the hook, especially when the incident involves a white officer and a black teen. My question is why do they always aim for the head or chest, and not the feet. Why when it comes to unarmed black teen they always kill like they are not human, their lives are worth nothing.

    I've often wondered the very same thing Tone. Several years ago in Detroit a family called the police on one of their family members who was mentally disabled. They wanted the cops to take him to the Psychiatric hospital. When the cops arrived the man had a rake in his hands, a rake. Needless to say the cops gunned him down. I remember saying what was he going to do rake them to death??

    I wasn't allowed to chime in yesterday but I too would like to thank you for your service to this country.👏👏

    You are so welcome my friend. White teen with a gun lives black unharmed teen dies seem to be the trend. We have a problem in our community with black on black crime, we pretty much shoot each other down the same way, and we have to come out in numbers against black on black violence just like we come out for white on black, or all violence as a matter of fact.

    August 27, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  24. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Tom l says:
    August 27, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am
    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?

    Typical. You always have to be right.

    August 27, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  25. 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.

    August 27, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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