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Cameras could be costly for police

I cannot begin to explain how incensed I was when I read the editorial regarding police cameras ("Cameras on cops," Sept. 16). Why put cameras on police officers? I suppose that those who would argue for this would say that it is intended to protect the police, but really?

As a retired career police officer who attained a command rank, I am offended. The obvious statement which is being made here is that "Big Brother" had better keep an eye on these officers because they simply cannot be trusted to do their job. Our police officers are trained to react in a split second, if necessary, to protect human life. They are also "unique," in that they have been given an awesome responsibility by the public that they serve. That is the power, absent a lawyer at their side to advise them or a commander to guide them, to take a human life if necessary. How can we impose such a responsibility on the one hand while telling them we don't trust them at all on the other?

If the imposition of those cameras causes even one police officer to hesitate in any one of a number of potentially dangerous encounters, it may mean the officer's life! Oh yes, the purveyors of this insanity would say, "Yes, but at least we have a photograph of the person who murdered the officer." That's if, of course, the perpetrator doesn't stop long enough to take the camera, too! If officers are required to wear cameras, it increases the chances they will fail to react sufficiently fast as they contemplate the "recording" of their actions.

I suggest that it would be more productive, and of more value to the public, to make our politicians wear those cameras whenever they are in "closed door session." I submit that much more damage is being done to this society on the local, state, and federal level by politicians, who should be monitored for our protection, than our police officers!

Robert L. DiStefano, Abingdon

The writer is a retired major in the Baltimore City Police Department.

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