LETTER: Accountability for the police
To the Editor:
I am writing in support of the Act Concerning Police Accountability which supports our police officers while at the same time instituting necessary reforms.
While I would like to emphasize that the Ridgefield Police Department has performed well for our town, recent high profile cases of police brutality in other parts of the country have highlighted the need for reform in policing nationwide.
These instances of police violence have revealed systemic weaknesses that permit bad apples to use their trusted role to aggress against the vulnerable and make it difficult for the good apples to stop them. Our society has authorized — even obliged — police officers to use force. But that authority must be joined with the responsibility of accountability. And as instances of police excesses show, there hasn’t been enough accountability in the system.
Some of the common sense requirements of the act:
Requires and provides funding for body cameras and dashboard cameras, which obviously can be used as evidence in the case of brutality, but which can also be used for evidence to exonerate an officer, for evidence of a crime, or even as an aid in filling out reports.
Establishes a duty for officers to intervene when witnessing another officer using excessive or illegal force, and to report the use of excessive or illegal force.
Bans chokeholds in most scenarios.
Establishes penalties for false crime reports.
These reforms can only make our law enforcement system better.
Rachelle Bildner Axel
Farm Hill Road, Oct. 11