A satirical approach highlighting why the SPVM should wear body cameras when dealing with citizens
Just last month, the SPVM released a whopping 215-page report concluding that body cams were an ineffective and overpriced project for the Montreal police force, effectively dropping it entirely. Additionally, the conclusions of a survey on officers revealed that they felt they were being watched and the cameras presented a breach of privacy, leading to them being uncomfortable having it on.
The conclusion of the report states that “according to the steps required by the local directive, it is up to the police officer to activate [the body camera], which has the effect of making them bear the weight of an important additional responsibility.” And folks, the last thing we need is around 3,000 people in possession of firearms and a dozen different incapacitating and violent tools (that are legally usable on civilians) to feel uncomfortable with the idea of additional responsibility!
This is why I come to you with a fervent plea: won’t somebody please think of the cops? Over the past few years, the SPVM has been through a myriad of “uncomfortable” situations and it would be a complete shame to burden them with extra responsibility.
Like when two Montreal police officers forcibly picked up a homeless man from downtown Montreal and drove him in a cruiser all the way to the Ontario border and dumped him there, according to CBC News. The punishment for essentially re-creating a kidnapping from one of the Taken movies with an innocent man off the streets was suspension with pay. However, fear not, because it took eight years to charge the officers with forcible confinement, assault and uttering threats, according to the same source. The arc of history is long, but it eventually ends with reluctantly admitting officers kidnapping people is bad. This whole conversation about using body cams does not consider the fact that serving and protecting Montreal is super hard when everyone can see footage of you loading a person into a cruiser like it’s moving day and chucking them into Ontario.
Or, imagine how awkward it would be if the officers tasked with spying and tracking journalist Patrick Lagacé in 2016 had to be held accountable for allegedly breaching his privacy by obtaining tracking warrants that allow the police to locate his cellphone via its GPS chip, according to The Globe and Mail. But, wait a minute, doesn’t the report on body cams mention that the officers felt uncomfortable being watched and isn’t this whole situation hypocritical? The answer is no, because cops need to be able to put someone in a chokehold for a minor infraction––turning on a surveillance device makes it difficult to squeeze a person’s entire respiratory system into dust as quickly as it would without surveillance. Meanwhile, journalists could potentially report on it and make the police look bad. Coming to terms with the consequences of your actions is just a hard concept to grasp when you’re on the force.
The report on body cams states that 90 per cent of the public has confidence in the SPVM. So, for the rest of you who probably think that cops harassing homeless people, spying on journalists to halt stories and pepper spraying protestors because they’ve been taunted one too many times is unwarranted—tough luck, because it seems like you hate cops getting comfortable with using their excessive amount of power on the daily. How dare you!
Finally, the report clearly indicates that it costs way too much to maintain the use of the body cameras. The pilot project cost $3.4 million and in order to implement them full-time, it would cost around $24 million a year, according to CTV News. I completely agree that it would be a waste of money for the SPVM. The police budget should strictly be used to make surveillance of citizens without their permission easier. Also, it should be used to equip officers with even deadlier weapons, so they can comfortably deal with people who are out of line. If the choice is between trusting the police’s promises or actually enforcing policies to keep them in check, you know I’m takin’ the path of least resistance…mostly because we all know what happens if we don’t.
Graphic by @sundaemorningcoffee