Petition statement to be delivered to The Missouri State House, The Missouri State Senate, and Governor Eric Greitens

Make All Missouri Law Enforcement Officers Wear Cameras

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Make All Missouri Law Enforcement Officers Wear Cameras

To be delivered to The Missouri State House, The Missouri State Senate, and Governor Eric Greitens

Petition Statement

Due to the increased abuse of power by law enforcement, use of SWAT teams or SWAT tactics, as well as continued militarization of local law enforcement, We, the Citizens of Missouri, are petitioning and demanding our legislatures implement the use of cameras on all law enforcement officers including, but not limited to: local police, correctional officers, sheriffs, county deputies, and security guards. We feel that this greater accountability will foster more trust in law enforcement and the courts by the citizens of our state. Studies have shown a reduction in police use of force and formal complaints when officers are required to wear such cameras. Thus there is also a reduction in litigation costs to the taxpayers. One study conducted by Cambridge University in Rialto, CA, showed an 89% reduction in complaints in a single year.

We also feel that such legislation will give meaning to the law and secure our First Amendment Rights which include our right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and to prohibit interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or petition for a governmental redress of grievances. Additionally, we hope to preserve our 2nd and 4th Amendment rights including the prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures, the requirement of warrants for searches, and the requirement of probable cause as determined by a neutral judge. Lastly, such legislation should reduce the incidence of brutality, discrimination and profiling based on ethnicity or nationality, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, and religion. Please sign this petition and show your commitment to a greater America for All of US!
There are currently 831 signatures. NEW goal - We need 1,000 signatures!

Petition Background

Due to the increased nationwide incidence of police abuse of power, brutality, harassment, and especially, the continued militarization of local police forces, it has become necessary that there be a greater checks and balances system in place to protect citizens and our officers. Body or lapel cameras have already been successfully implemented in places such as Rialto, California, and New York City, New York. A recent article written by Fox News said the following about a success last year with a camera trial:

“The police department in Rialto, Calif., concluded a yearlong University of Cambridge study last year that found an 89 percent drop in complaints against officers during the camera trial. The chief has since mandated its deployment to its roughly 90 sworn officers.”(1)

As you can see the impact of such legislation has been found to be highly effective in other cities. Here are many benefits of enacting such legislation:

*Body cameras act as a supplement to dashboard cameras allowing a clearer picture of incidents from the officer’s perspective. This benefits prosecutors/defense in illustrating a clear argument, reducing litigation time and cost.

*Greater accountability for officers, which can reduce problematic enforcement behavior, and also serves as a means to exonerate officers from false and malicious claims, thereby saving time and legal costs to the taxpayer.

*Identifying problem and/or rogue officers and creating opportunities for coaching and development or necessary disciplinary action.(2)

*Footage can be used for training and educational purposes, leading to proper law enforcement.

*According to a paper published on policefoundation.org, studies show that when people are aware they are being recorded or watched, they are more likely to behave in a submissive or more socially acceptable way, thus potentially resulting in de-escalated police interactions.2

*When citizens are aware police are being recorded as well, it can foster trust in law enforcement resulting in more positive interactions.

We, the People of the State of Missouri, are hereby formally requesting by way of petition that you immediately implement the usage of lapel or body cameras equipped with audio recording on all law enforcement officers in our state. This would include, but not be limited to, all officers in the local police departments, FBI, SWAT, ATF, correctional officers, sheriffs, county deputies and security guards. Undercover officers will not be required to wear these devices; however, officers should not be used as “undercover” to circumvent this law. Additionally, when undercover officers use a wire or other such recording devices, either on or off their person, the recordings of such data shall be made immediately available to the public as soon as it is legally safe to release such information, i.e. such as when a case has been brought to trial and the matter has been closed.

We formally request and demand the following:

1. You draft, support, and enact legislation requiring all local and federal members of law inforcement to wear audio and video recording devices during each of their shifts. Law enforcement that shall be required to wear such devices include, but is not limited to, the following: local police departments, FBI, SWAT, ATF, correctional officers, sheriffs, county deputies, and security guards.

2. Such legislation should be enacted as soon as administratively possible, but not later than June 1, 2016.

3. You allocate and secure continued funding for the use of audio and video recording devices for each officer to wear on their person while carrying out their duties.

4. Create a website where recordings are readily available to the public to view and listen to as soon as administratively possible. This information shall be available without Freedom of Information requests or other formal requests to the police or other law enforcement offices.

5. Such legislation should include wording that prohibits law enforcement officers from intentionally deactivating or rendering their recording devices incapable of recording. If this behavior becomes a pattern with an officer, he or she shall be subject to disciplinary action and termination.

6. Law enforcement officers shall either notify citizens they are being recorded during interaction or conspicuously wear such notification.

7. Law enforcement officers shall give citizens the opportunity to decline recording of their interaction with law enforcement on a case by case basis. If the citizen declines, it must be recorded.

8. Law enforcement officers who disable their recording devices during an incident who later receive a formal complaint shall not be given the usual benefit of the doubt by the court and the court shall lean in favor of the accuser unless there is a preponderance of the evidence that the officer is not guilty of the accusation(s).

9. Citizens shall be given the opportunity to notify the police department at a later date, within thirty (30) days, that their interaction be thrown out, erased, or not made public.

10. This legislation shall be extended to correctional officers in the State or Federal prisons located in Missouri now or in the future.

*Others are free to copy the language of this petition to start a petition for their own state.

*Upon state approval an official petition will be circulated for signatures.



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