Pay attention Eureka this is just what we need!
The City of Rio Dell announced that the City Council unanimously voted to have the police department “proceed with purchasing and equipping city police vehicles and officers with camera systems”. Not only did they authorize the purchase of car video systems, the council moved forward with making Rio Dell the only local police agency in Humboldt to actively roll out the use of Body Cameras. Wow! Great Job Rio Dell, you have raised the bar for law enforcement.
Now this might seem like a strange statement, but Rio Dell, which in general has a pretty conservative electorate, can now call itself “The most progressive police department in Humboldt.”
Currently the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department and the Eureka Police Department are facing millions of dollars in claims from lawsuits. These departments have the highest local budgets. The HCSO and EPD get the most media coverage, and the majority of negative community backlash. However, both agencies have continued to evade transparency or scrutiny regarding their departments. Both agencies have given lip service to obtaining more video coverage of officers’ activities. Both agencies have successfully evaded equipping all officers with personal body cameras.
Now the time for excuses is gone. More video surveillance of police activities should help with creating more transparent departments, along with lowering civil liability. HCSO and EPD; if the humble town of Rio Dell can implement a forward thinking policy regarding body cams, then there’s no reason you can’t do the same. It’s time to be proactive for once, instead of waiting for the public to demand this level of accountability.