Police reform continues to remain a controversial topic throughout the country in the wake of increased cases of fatal police brutality against African-Americans. As citizens and law enforcement struggle to come to an agreement on ways to improve police accountability and implement better practices across the board, police unions in several cities say if taxpayers want reform, it’s going to cost them.
While a handful police forces have spoken out in favor of improving policies and practices in an effort to calm heightened tensions between cops and residents, most aren’t quite aligned with activists and concerned community members who are calling for a complete overhaul of the policing system in America. Taking the opposition a step further, a growing number of police unions are proposing that taxpayers bear the financial burden of cost and additional compensation that would supposedly be necessary to permanently incorporate things like body cam mandates and increased responsibilities for police officers.
Although a few police forces have taken steps to ensure that the use of body cams become a regular part of police officers’ jobs, many have incorporated the practice only to put a halt on it soon after, or make excuses for delays in actually making it mandatory for officers to wear the body cameras.
Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police Lodge president Daniel Hills says additional requirements for officers should most certainly result in additional compensation. “We recognize [body cameras are] the direction we’re going,” Hills told The Huffington Post. “But I believe this is a game changer, as far as complexity of the job. And this level of monitoring will result in positives and negatives about what it’s like to be a policeman. Because of that, I think it does require some additional compensation or at least bargaining for that.”
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HuffPost also noted that taxpayers in Cincinnati have already been expected to cover the $6 million cost of the 700 body cameras set to be put in place in the city by the end of the year.
While it’s no secret that police unions don’t exactly make their decisions on the basis of public opinion or appeasement, it would likely serve in the best interest of all involved to consider that requiring citizens to foot the bill for provisions many feel should have already been in place long ago isn’t exactly the best way to make progress in restoring public trust between police and citizens.