One of the biggest changes in surveillance over the last few years is explosion of mobile privately owned cameras (think smartphones). There isn't a public event that goes unrecorded anymore. Mayor Emanuel has gone on record saying that this is affecting policing in Chicago: (Sun-Times)
Although his choice of words offended the police union, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday stood behind his closed-door claim that police officers across the nation are being more reactive than proactive because they’re afraid their videotaped encounters with the public will end up on YouTube.
The mayor did not make the mistake of using the word “fetal” to describe the defensive crouch that many police officers have adopted after the death of African-American suspects at the hands of police triggered demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore and New York City.
But Emanuel stood firmly behind the point he was trying to make during a closed-door meeting in Washington, D.C., last week that included the U.S. Attorney General, the FBI director, federal prosecutors and 20 big city mayors and their police chiefs.
“We have to be honest with each other that what happened over the last 18 months … [not] just in the media but in the general narrative [that's] having an impact. Officers will tell you . . . about how the news over the last 15 months has impacted their instincts. Do they stop or do they keep driving? When I stop here, is it going to be my career on the line?” the mayor said.
“All of us want officers to be proactive. [But], to be able to do community policing in a proactive way, we have to encourage them so it’s not their job on the line or that judgment call all the time that, if they stop, this could be a career-ender. If that happens, it’s going to have an impact and we’re seeing it. And that’s why every other police chief and mayor and U.S. attorney then applauded what I said because it is effective.”
Emanuel then rattled off the statistics he remembers hearing at the meeting. They mirror the troubling trend in Chicago, where there were 359 murders through Sept. 27 compared with 296 through the same period of 2014 — a 21 percent increase, according to the Police Department.
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Last week, Emanuel used the word “fetal” to describe the post-Ferguson effect. The closed-door comments, captured by a Washington Post reporter who was in the room, were his strongest to date on his view that Chicago cops have pulled back from aggressive policing.
“We have allowed our police department to get fetal and it is having a direct consequence. . . . They have pulled back from the ability to interdict . . . They don’t want to be a news story themselves, they don’t want their career ended early, and it’s having an impact,” Emanuel said then, obviously speaking more freely than he would at home.