Jack Dunphy is back in the pages of the L.A. Times, explaining why cameras in police cars won’t be a cure-all . . . unless we can do away with bean-counters and nitpicky rule enforcers:
[M]any of us who work in the department are skeptical about how these video images will be used. And we have good reason to be. Consider: A recent internal audit of arrest reports concluded that a large number were unsatisfactory because they did not properly document whether Miranda warnings were given to suspects. On its surface, the finding suggested a dire problem. But a closer look at the audit revealed that there was hardly a problem at all. Department policy dictates that when a suspect under arrest has not been advised of his Miranda rights, the words “not admonished” must be written in a designated space on the arrest report. Some officers, however, used different words — such as “not advised” and “not given” — to report the same thing.
No matter, said the auditors. Because these officers didn’t use the required language, they had to complete follow-up reports spelling out what any fool could have seen was clearly meant in their original reports.
Now imagine the effect on police officers if this kind of obsessive punctiliousness were applied to the images captured by the video cameras installed in their patrol cars.
Read it all, and rejoice at Jack’s return, however temporary, to the pages of The Times.