Body cams for animal control? Give it a shot

  • Monday, August 10, 2015 6:59pm
  • Opinion

Body cams on animal control officers? Why not give it a try?

If it proves helpful, then keep recording.

If it proves problematic, then stop the camera.

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough will be considering a proposal to adopt body cams for animal control officers before the end of the year. This comes after the proposal’s consideration by the Animal Protection Citizen Advisory Committee.

The potential of threats to officers during stress-filled confrontations with the public prompted the body-cam proposal.

Body cams also are the latest rage in policing equipment, following public-police encounters that ended tragically in other communities.

For many in the public, the presence of an officer prompts reassurance. Others see it as a hand of authority to which they don’t wish to submit.

Add a beloved pet or animal into the mix, and sometimes situations get out of hand unbelievably quick. Such situations can escalate and, in the extreme, perhaps all parties end up in court where juries try to piece together an event.

Present-thinking is that a recording on a body cam might be helpful in determining who did right and who didn’t.

The most disturbing aspect of body cams — at least to the public — is the feeling of Big Brother watching. In other words, being under surveillance.

But, really, it’s already happening. Grocery stores, gas stations, malls, sports arenas, you name a place, it’s likely equipped with video equipment.

If it isn’t a business or government recording, then it’s individuals with video-equipped cellphones. When leaving home, it’s wise to assume the camera is on and behave appropriately.

Deciding to adopt body cams might be helpful to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s Department of Animal Protection.

It might be appreciated by the general public.

But, there’s no way to know for sure until body cams are given a shot.

 

— Ketchikan Daily News, August 8

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