Chad’s Morning Brief: Texas Lawmakers May Consider Police Body Cameras, Teens and Smartphones, and Other Top Stoiries
Here is your Morning Brief for April 10, 2015.
Lawmakers in Texas could consider requiring all police officers in Texas to wear body cameras while they are in patrol. According to the Texas Tribune, several bills relating to body cameras and police officers have been filed.
Body cameras are recording devices that can be affixed to law enforcement officers and document their actions. The House Committee on Emerging Issues in Texas Law Enforcement will consider two bills on Thursday related to officers' use of them: one by Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, that calls for Texas law enforcement officers to wear them, and another by Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, that would create a committee to study the cameras.
A separate bill by Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, would require local law enforcement to applyfor grants that would equip their officers with body cameras and come up with guidelines for using them. That bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee after a public hearing on Tuesday.
“Imagine if that officer in South Carolina had on a body camera," said Reynolds, who has also proposed putting $50 million in state funds toward the technology. "It’s highly doubtful that he would have behaved the way he did."
Both law enforcement and police accountability groups have concerns with the existing proposals that would require some police to wear body cameras.
The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, or CLEAT, supports body cameras for cops, said Chris Jones, a lobbyist for the group and a former sergeant in the Houston Police Department. But none of the legislation proposed in Texas so far adequately addresses when the cameras should be on, he said, or whether their footage should be public information.
For instance, should the camera be on when an officer is having a personal conversation with his wife? If it's left on by accident, is the footage still public information?
"We've just got to tweak how they're going to be used," Jones said.
I am all for police officers wearing and using body cameras. Not only does it help keep officers accountable, but it can protect them as well against false allegations. I'm not sure though that it should be a state law. It should be up to each department because they know what they can afford to do.
Teens and Cell Phones
If it seems as though every teenager has a cell phone these days, it's because that is pretty close to the truth. According to the Washington Examiner, teenagers have joined the rest of us who seem to be online all of the time.
A quarter of all American teens are online "almost constantly" via mobile devices and smartphones, with most hooked on Facebook, according to a new Pew Research survey.
The survey of kids aged 13-17 also found that virtually all go online every day with just a tiny 2 percent saying that they use the Internet less than weekly.
According to Pew, 92 percent of teens report going online daily. Some 24 percent said they are on "almost constantly." Fifty-six percent said they go online daily and 12 percent report once a day use.
It helps that they have smartphones. In its survey of teens, Pew found that "nearly three-quarters of teens have or have access to a smartphone and 30 percent have a basic phone, while just 12 percent of teens 13 to 17 say they have no cellphone of any type."
And of those "mobile teens," Pew found that 94 percent go online daily.
It's an online world and everyone wants to be connected. It's not always a good thing though. I fear that kids won't know how to actually communicate in person in the future. With texting and chatting over the phone continuing to be the preferred method of communication, face to face communication skills will drop.
Other Must Read Links:
These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard on our KFYO YouTube page after the show and online at kfyo.com.