Police need to get tough enough for transparency

Saturday, May 2, 2015

As faith in law enforcement has been undermined by a seemingly endless string of police abuses, one reform has come up repeatedly.

Body cameras are about to become ubiquitous, nationally and in California. That's good. There's nothing like an electronic witness to keep cops and civilians alike on the straight and narrow. In fact, many of the calls for more oversight have arisen from some egregious civilian video or another; last week, the ACLU introduced a new app for the public to upload clips showing excessive force.

But the body cams now being shipped to departments across the country also come with major side issues, from data security to the ethics of mass surveillance. Right now, departments are handling these issues piecemeal, but state lawmakers have introduced a package of bills to impose some uniform rules across the state.