August 26, 2014

EDITORIAL: In Support of the Proposed Ithaca Police Policy Changes

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On Monday, Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 created and released a new set of proposed guidelines for the Ithaca Police Department, which includes having cameras mounted on every police officer and vehicles. The seven-point plan is in response to a situation that occurred on Aug. 10, when Sgt. John Norman pulled his weapon on two unarmed minority teenagers in Ithaca’s south side after a police chase in relation to two arsons and a burglary. We at The Sun believe that Myrick is moving in the right direction towards increased safety for citizens through additional protocol for the police.

According to The Wall Street Journal, there was a study completed in Rialto, California, where an entire police force wore body-mounted cameras that recorded any interactions. In the first year after the cameras were introduced, the reported use of force by officers declined by 60 percent and citizen complaints against police fell 88 percent. If we can see these same results in Ithaca, then Myrick’s new guidelines in improving our safety will have proven effective.

Though some have concerns about the efficacy of these programs, we believe that these programs will help the Mayor make great strides in reducing the separation between the police and citizens in Ithaca. Hopefully, these new rules will reduce the chance that a similar incident to that which occurred in August will happen in the future. While the internal review done by IPD determined that this incident was not race-based, these programs will have the additional benefit of preventing future bias incidents.

While we are optimistic, we at The Sun are interested to see the results of Myrick’s proposal and the increased police surveillance. However, we believe that this will overall be a positive change.