The wrong kind of weird

The Portland police don't wear body cams. Apparently they're the only police force in the 75 largest U.S. cities to not have them.

For Pete's sake, why not?

The politicians on the City Council give three reasons:

1. They're too expensive.

2. They don't deter police misconduct.

3. We can't use them because then we wouldn't do anything else to reform the police bureau.

All three of these justifications are utter nonsense.

The money is there. Lay off the "Sunday Parkways" people and the Water Bureau Tweetmaster. Take the money saved on p.r. hokum and use it to put body cameras on the cops. Try to develop some grown-up priorities.

If the police turn the cameras off or deliberately block them, fire them.

The lack of the body cams is just one of many examples of Portland City Hall insisting on doing things differently. Just drive around downtown Portland, and you'll see where that has led. Or if you're not up for the drive, here's an Instagram page that does the looking around for you. Not pretty.


  1. To drill down on your point, cams eliminate any ambiguity about what a suspect or officer did/did not say or do during police contact and are very valuable at trial--or preventing them--not to mention assessing complaints of misconduct quickly and definitively. The narrative is often that cams are needed to curb police misconduct. They are actually far more beneficial for public safety purposes. There is far less wiggle room during a motion to suppress, plea negotiations, trials or complaints of misconduct when there is an unimpeachable version of what took place. As the article states, PPB is on record supporting body cams. Why in the world does Mapps have to consult with the ACLU about this? Since when is this PAC the expert on public safety? Does he think they will say "no, body cams aren't a good idea"? Does he need their permission? It's absolutely mind boggling.

    For a city that pisses away far more money on less important projects, the cost is reasonable when you consider what it actually takes to upload, store (for many years to be in compliance with public records law) and transmit an untold amount of data rich content to the prosecutor's office for discovery purposes. The prosecutor's office would then have to hire additional staff to cover this new work and provide it to defense attorneys. Bottom line: If you want iron clad evidence, you can't rely on a bunch of 22 year old "journalists" with agendas running around holding up their iPhones in front of the ICE detention center. It takes funding. If the City Council says they want more transparency but will not fund this new expense, then their constant crowing about defund police out of one side of their mouth and talks about their concern for public safety out of the other is nothing more than performative bluster instead looking for reality based solutions that keeps public safety in mind.


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