Tags: America's Forum | Exclusive Interviews | Bernie Kerik | Law enforcement | body cameras | security

Bernie Kerik: Body Cameras Will Protect Police More Than Citizens

By    |   Monday, 02 Mar 2015 12:38 PM

Requiring police to wear body cameras, an idea that's gaining traction in departments across the country, benefits both law enforcement and the community, but more so the former, according to former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who appeared Monday on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."

"Body cameras in the long run will help the police far better than they'll help the community," said Kerik. "They'll substantiate their actions, they'll refute in many cases false claims of brutality, assaults and some of the allegations that are made against cops.

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"When I initially put the cameras in highway cars in New York City, the union and many of the cops were against it. But one of the first complaints against a highway patrolman in New York City was a false complaint, and the camera actually vindicated the officer. The more resources we can get out to the cops for them to do their job and be protected" the better things will be.

Kerik said he does not buy into the narrative perpetuated in the media that police are inherently at odds with the minority communities they patrol.

"The majority of times, the police in that community have pretty good interactions with the community," he said. "In the event of an incident, confrontation or something that stirs media attention, especially national media attention, it's usually outsiders that come into the community and stir all this unrest.

"Ninety-five percent of the time, the cops have a pretty good relationship with the immediate community. When something happens, you get these outsiders come in and all hell breaks loose."

Continuing a dialogue between law enforcement and community leaders is important, he said, and trust will come with time.

The reality is that crime is down across the country, according to Kerik, who noted that in New York City last year there were just more than 350 homicides in a city of more than 8 million people, compared with 2,490 in 1990.

"Violent crime is down 80 to 85 percent compared to 1994 when Rudy Giuliani took over New York City," Kerik said. "The police have an enormous job to do, they have a dangerous job to do.

"They go out there every day and do that job, put their lives on the line and as a result, crime is down, communities are safer. And in the New York City area, those African-American communities that people complain that the police don't have relationships with — those communities had the most substantial reductions in crime" of any nationwide.

Kerik expressed disappointment in outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, saying he failed to follow through on his promise to push harder for criminal justice reform.

"I'm disappointed, not necessarily in him specifically, but in the whole Justice Department's political wind," he said. "The Justice Department and the attorney general should be an independent body and it just doesn't appear that to be the case. It doesn't stop with him, this is the prior administration as well."

He has high hopes for Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney from New York who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to replace Holder.

"I worked with Loretta Lynch in the early '90s with the Cali [drug] cartel," he said. "I never had a problem with her. Hopefully, she is the same today that she was then, and we'll be OK."

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Requiring police to wear body cameras, an idea that's gaining traction in departments across the country, benefits both law enforcement and the community, but more so the former, according to former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who appeared Monday on Newsmax TV...
Bernie Kerik, Law enforcement, body cameras, security
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2015-38-02
Monday, 02 Mar 2015 12:38 PM
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