O’Donnell: Ask Community What It Wants Of Police, Including Body Cameras


Eugene O’Donnell, a former police officer and prosecutor now on the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Faulty, tells NPR police departments should ask the the public before it practices community policing. “Literally, block-to-block public housing, building-to-building, floor-to-floor, people don’t agree on what they want the police to do and how they should do it,” he says, adding that, “The simplistic notion that the cops just have to be nice to people is silly, and that’s a lot of the conversation.”

O’Donnell explains that, “Police [do] a job that involves conflict. When you pull somebody over and you ask them for their license, they’re under arrest. Police are not equal with people in that situation…” He also calls body cameras on police officers a “terrible idea – worst idea you can think of.” He says, “I’d like to talk to the neighborhood and see what they think…Is this the kind of relationship you’re going to want with the cops? Everything you do is going to be on video. Everything they do is going to be on video. Everything is going to just be yes, sir, no, sir…”

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