Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Salt Lake City Tribune reports that the Salt Lake City police chief has announced his intention to make wearable cameras mandatory at his police department so that officers can record a crime scene or any interaction with the public, adding to the footage already produced by dashboard cameras in their cars. "I think this is the way of the future," says Chief Chris Burbank. "It is a technology that is coming very quickly." The Taser AXON Flex on-officer system is a small, light-weight camera with 14 hours of a battery life that an officer clips to an item like a headband or sunglasses so it can record whatever that officer is seeing or doing. BART police in San Francisco have already received $141,000 from the federal Transit Security Grant Program for the cameras which will be used with counter-terrorism investigations. "We receive complaints about incidents that are then taken to court,” says Lieutenant Kevin Franklin, BART’s manager of security programs,. “The idea is that the cameras should help with that.” But Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch campaign group is already concerned about use of the "body camera" in the UK. "We're already seeing traffic wardens, bailiffs and council officials using them in Britain and it's a sad indictment of authorities who see every member of the public as a suspect," says Pickles. ""What is the problem they are trying to solve? Are lots of police officers being assaulted and people getting off because there's no CCTV? Of course not. This is a one-sided tool. How would police officers react if members of the public routinely filmed them?""
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "AP reports that with Pot soon legal under state laws in Washington and Colorado, officials in both states are trying to figure out how to keep stoned drivers off the road as law enforcement officials wonder about whether the ability to buy or possess marijuana legally will bring about an increase of marijuana users on the roads. "We've had decades of studies and experience with alcohol," says Washington State Patrol spokesman Dan Coon. "Marijuana is new, so it's going to take some time to figure out how the courts and prosecutors are going to handle it. But the key is impairment: We will arrest drivers who drive impaired, whether it be drugs or alcohol." Marijuana can cause dizziness and slowed reaction time, and drivers are more likely to drift and swerve while they're high and Marijuana legalization activists agree people shouldn't smoke and drive. But setting a standard comparable to blood-alcohol limits has sparked intense disagreement because unlike portable breath tests for alcohol, there's no easily available way to determine whether someone is impaired from recent pot use. If scientists can't tell someone how much marijuana it will take for him or her to test over the threshold, how is the average pot user supposed to know? "A lot of effort has gone into the study of drugged driving and marijuana, because that is the most prevalent drug, but we are not nearly to the point where we are with alcohol," says Jeffrey P. Michael, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's impaired-driving director. "We don't know what level of marijuana impairs a driver.""
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Ben Fractenberg and Jeff Mays write that the NYPD has created a "wanted" poster for a Harlem couple who film cops conducting stop-and-frisks and post the videos on YouTube — branding them "professional agitators" who portray cops in a bad light and listing their home address. The flyer featuring side-by-side mugshots of Matthew Swaye and Christina Gonzalez and the couple's home address was taped to a podium outside a public hearing room in the 30th Precinct house and warns officers to be on guard against them. The couple has filmed officers stopping and frisking and arresting young people of color in Harlem and around New York City, which they post on Gonzalez's YouTube account. They said their actions are legal. "There have been times when it's gotten combative. There have been times when they [police officers] have videoed Christina," says Swaye. "But if we were breaking the law they would have arrested us." Swaye was part of a group of advocates including Cornel West who were detained at the 28th Precinct in Harlem in October for protesting the stop-and-frisk policy which Mayor Bloomberg strongly defends. Gonzalez and Swaye see the flyer as an effort to "discredit" and "shame" them for protesting what they feel is a civil rights issue, while also potentially endangering them by putting their home address on the flyer. "I saw it immediately and was kind of blown away," says Swaye, "It was designed to show us as people who are not trustworthy or safe.""
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Oakland Tribune reports that when Berkeley police Chief Michael Meehan's son's cell phone was stolen from a school locker in January, ten police officers were sent to track down the stolen iPhone, with some working overtime at taxpayer expense. "If your cell phone was stolen or my cell phone was stolen, I don't think any officer would be investigating it," says Michael Sherman, vice chairman of the Berkeley Police Review Commission, a city watchdog group. "They have more important things to do. We have crime in the streets." But the kicker is that even with all those cops swarming around looking for an iphone equipped with the Find My iPhone tracking software, police were not able to locate the phone. "If 10 cops who know a neighborhood can't find an iPhone that's broadcasting its location, that shouldn't give you a lot of confidence in your own vigilante recovery of a stolen iProduct," writes Alexis Madrigal. "Just saying. Consider this a PSA: just buy a new phone.""