Tonawanda News

Columns

April 9, 2013

A police state for the police state

Tonawanda News — The North Tonawanda Police Department recently joined numerous police forces nationwide that equip their officers with video cameras. The Patrol Division is now mandated to use an On-Officer Video Recording System during all law enforcement encounters with the public. At the end of every shift each officer is supposed to upload the videos to a web-based storage facility where they can be reviewed by supervisors and saved for evidentiary purposes.

This brand of reality TV is something relatively new to policing and it represents its future, not only locally, but nationwide, too. It’s a disconcerting development, because with these almost incognito cameras attached to their lapels or breastplates, police will have a mobile police state – a portable Big Brother – with them on patrol, not only on the streets, but in your homes as well.

We as citizens have a certain expectation of, and a Constitutionally-recognized right to, privacy. That expectation, as well as our faith in our trusted officers, will be tested by these cameras. Now, when a lone officer is welcomed into one’s home it won’t be just him that the citizen will be interacting with; it will be the extra sets of eyes that will be viewing the footage later, folks who may be less accommodating than the patrolman and could initiate a police action based upon what the camera may have picked up in the background – be it a legally-owned firearm in the corner of the room, a shady looking individual, or the presence of a vice like alcohol or marijuana. It’s like having government spying on your home.

That aforementioned trust in our local patrols – and theirs in us - will be forcibly breached by the cameras when it comes to routine traffic stops and other policing. Quite often, depending on the temperament of the person driving a speeding car or teens partying too loudly, a cop will be a good ambassador for the force and reprimand them, giving them a slap on the wrist or a lesser citation.

Text Only
Columns
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Canal Fest, here we come This column should be titled "Roads and Streets." First of all, Meadow Drive is finally open. Although it took very long to be completed, it's beautiful. Riding by the other day brought into focus how many people will use this to cut across town. One less thing for residents to complain about.

    July 12, 2014

  • ADAMCZYK: Homesick for someplace I've never been You stumble over things that make you wonder. I do, at least, and the latest is one of those advertising artifacts from yesteryear that encourage me to ponder what's changed and what never will.

    July 11, 2014

  • WALLACE: Playing politics as usual The immigration crisis is just the most recent example of how dysfunctional Washington, D.C. is right now.

    July 10, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg A stunning scandal in Mississippi-voting|DUVALL: A stunning scandal in Mississippi We don't tend to talk a whole lot about Mississippi on this paper's editorial page and for good reason. It's a long way away in both distance and temperament. But I swear this will be worth it.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: Employers don't need 24/7 access to workers

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Taste of Buffalo sneaks up again This time next week you can find me tromping somewhere up and down Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. I'll be there with tens of thousands of my closest friends.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook
Front page
NDN Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success