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Body cameras on police: Too '1984'?

To the editor: I am deeply troubled by the idea of Los Angeles Police Department officers wearing body cameras. ("Have a full and open debate on rules for LAPD body cameras," Editorial, Dec. 17)

Why do we as a society need our everyday behaviors to be recorded? From malls to many streets, much of what we do in public is already captured on camera. Now add to this our interactions with officers.

The expectation, according to the editorial, is that we will behave better. Do we distrust our society and our system so much that we need to be recorded to ensure civilized behavior?

When will we finally put a limit on where to place cameras? Do we draw the line at our homes, or will we one day come to believe that cameras can prevent domestic violence? Step by step, we head toward a "1984"-like nation — without even noticing.

Rosana Campos, North Hollywood

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To the editor: Your editorial sees body cameras as providing an "objective record of the interaction" and "increased transparency," which might help address the way black citizens say they are treated by police. Unfortunately, the effect of such equipment will be marginal.

Cameras have a restricted frame of view, and many contentious interactions can be expected to take place outside what they can capture.

The greater problem lies with the very nature of perception. What we call "facts" are actually the product of external stimuli interacting with our minds; hence, cameras will be of little help in the "court of public opinion," which is now radically divided.

Cameras may be of some help in the actual courtroom, but they probably will not address the kind of disturbances we are witnessing. Many will still see what they want to see.

Jack Kaczorowski, Los Angeles

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