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Police should welcome use of body cameras

A Freeport police officer demonstrates the use of

A Freeport police officer demonstrates the use of a body camera. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

In Newsday’s series about the police, videos and body cameras, I have seen statements from the Nassau County police that they do not need body cameras or similar items, or they are expensive ["Civilian videos contradicted police accounts," News, March 28]. I have one question: What are they so worried about?

If, as they claim, the police are doing a wonderful job, within the law, following the rules, the cameras will prove them right.

If there are problems, the cameras will help identify them, along with the "bad apples," so they can be properly trained or let go. Seems simple. We have red-light cameras. If they show wrongdoing or help to prevent it, and are supported by the police, why not body cameras?

Fern Summer,

North Bellmore

I’m confident Newsday plans to go back 20 years or so to show all of the line-of-duty injuries and shootings of Long Island police officers while trying to apprehend resisting suspects. After this series on police and videos, what’s next on Newsday’s agenda?

Andrew Ross,

Kings Park

Tankleff’s story can be valuable to others

I thank Martin H. Tankleff for sharing his story in an op-ed ["No more lying to suspects," Opinion, March 19]. As a fellow Long Islander, I shed tears of joy and relief as I saw the news of his release in 2007. His experience is a valuable story to share as well as proof for needed change in the judicial system.

As a social worker who has worked with clients of almost all ages, I’ve studied and observed that the adolescent brain is not fully developed until about age 25 and thus can be easily manipulated.

I believe what those detectives did to Tankleff was horrible. His story and fight for justice is not only a call for legislative reform but a convincing case against the death penalty. Imagine if he had lived in a state that permits it. He should keep telling his story and promoting the Innocence Project.

Kathleen Malsky,

Manorville

Need better ways to nab speeding, wild drivers

In the article "Cops: One dead, three hurt in parkway crash" [Our Towns, March 31], "a high rate of speed" was indicated in the Southern State Parkway one-vehicle accident. I’d bet the driver was also weaving in and out of traffic, coming within inches of other vehicles in a reckless manner, putting his passengers and others around him in peril.

This is a normal, everyday occurrence on Long Island roads. I travel daily on these highways and see extremely dangerous driving behavior, including tailgating, texting and talking on a cellphone.

It isn’t hard to witness these distracting and aggressive behaviors. We need unmarked moving police patrols, with dashcams on all sides recording these drivers.

Police standing in one location trying to catch speeders seems ineffective. Drivers should get hefty fines, impounded vehicles and possibly jail time for repeat offenses. How many lives must be ruined or lost before we act?

Roger Sampson,

North Massapequa

Electoral College has become anachronism

The letter defending the Electoral College as a tool insisted upon by smaller states who otherwise refused to ratify the Constitution, in my view, is historically incorrect ["Electoral college should stay as it is," Letters, March 31]. There were two factions: those that wanted the president elected by direct vote and those that wanted a president selected by Congress. Additionally, southern states wanted slaves counted in the census.

This impasse led to the creation of the Electoral College along with the "three-fifths compromise," in which each slave would count as 3/5 of a person. With slaves thus added to the population, southern states gained greater representation. Virginia, in fact, was home to presidents for 32 of the first 36 years.

Our Founding Fathers were not particularly fond of the Electoral College. Our founders also believed that regional candidates, not political parties, would split the vote, thus allowing the House of Representatives to select the president. They erred on this, too.

The Electoral College is a vestige of slavery and an unwieldy compromise that, in my opinion, has long since outlived its usefulness and should be abandoned.

Harry Mainzer,

East Quogue

The Electoral College was a compromise offered to the less-populous southern colonies, not the smaller northern colonies. But the Electoral College has changed.

Originally, each delegate could vote the way they wanted, but that was soon changed to winner-take-all. And then with the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929, the House was capped at 435 members, further changing the original concept.

So now, we have smaller states able to exercise undue influence over the results of presidential elections instead of letting the majority of the people get their choice.

Scott Diamond,

Levittown

I read strange arguments for the Electoral College and against mail-in ballots ["Voting changes hurt U.S. democracy," Letters, March 31].

While we are all Americans, some argue we should keep a system that allows voters in some states to be given more weight than voters in others. Would the letter writer, who lives in Patchogue, argue that voters who live in certain neighborhoods there be given more weight in local elections than voters in other neighborhoods?

And another writer argues that state residents, not the state legislature, should change voting laws to allow mail-in ballots. This seems to suggest that state legislatures are not legitimate. If legislatures are not legitimate, what is? Sounds to me like an argument for anarchy.

Martin Selbst,

Brooklyn

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