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Letter: Police need cams, more discretion

A New York City Police Department police officer

A New York City Police Department police officer activates a body camera during a demonstration at the new police academy building in Queens on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014. Credit: Charles Eckert

In a recent newscast, a retired police officer blamed the increase in crime across the nation on liberal politicians. He maintained that the hands of police were tied because they couldn't do their jobs as they had in the past. There is some truth to these claims.

Some say that the pressure from politicians has led to fewer arrests in cities around the country. There are two possible explanations for this. First, police say they fear being brought up on charges that might result in loss of job, salary and pension. The second is that they are holding back to show that crimes increase when police are deprived of discretionary authority.

It certainly hasn't hurt the cause of law enforcement personnel that crime is up in some urban areas.

What should we as citizens posit as solutions? The answer, as with all issues in a democracy, is compromise. Police must accede to use of cameras, which can record misconduct on the part of the perpetrator or law enforcers. By the same token, minority group advocates must concede that not every protester is a law-abiding citizen.

Hal Sobel, Great Neck