Cops ask for body cams for anti-drug operations

Either way, narcotics agents or armed suspects in drug operations would have to think again.

Whether it is the police or the drug personalities who could greatly benefit from this, the City Peace and Order Council (CPOC) under Mayor John Geesnell Yap II elevates the request of the city police to the city government to finance at least 9 body cameras to be worn by narcotic operatives during drug operations.

The body cams can help clear the police and narc agents’ names and reputations as they always get the bitter end of criticisms for allegations of extra judicial killings against slain drug personalities.

On the other hand, this should settle the apprehension of families of drug personalities who are quick to defend their often armed drug suspects are summarily executed and killed in police or narcotics operations, hinted City police chief, Police Superintendent Patricio Degay.

The City Anti-Drug Abuse operatives earlier formally asked the Liga ng mga Barangay, to help them secure these video recording equipment that would be a standard helmet mounted cameras that continues to roll and record everything during the duration of the operations.

A such, these body cameras would bear out who from either camps started to open fire and who indeed were there to just respond to the escalation.

Police authorities who come out from raids which result to the death of suspects often invoke the operative phrase “to protect ourselves,” a phrases that has since become controversial for lack of visible proof.

The body cameras changes that.

Supt. Degay bared that the body cams brought by the police operatives in such dangerous missions would help the police press on the defence that they have to serve and to protect.

The move also becomes even more important as the City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (CADAC) has implemented the Matrix Intensive Out-Patient (MIOP) rehabilitation programs.

This has been a program that allows local governments to treat those drug personalities who have shown true resolve to straighten their lives after OplanTokhang.

Oplan Tokhang is the soft police campaign program against illegal drugs and consists of knocking on houses of identified drug personalities and convincing them to surrender and be cleared.

This as the police also continued with its supply reduction and hard target neutralization drives as the hard stance.

Both operations constitute the Oplan Double Barrel.

With over 38,000 Boholanos surrendering at the end of Oplan Double Barrel Alpha, the government decided to engage communities in drug rehabilitation programs for those who surrendered but do not need the confinement in a drug rehabilitation center.

The out-patient program, also known as Community Based Rehabilitation Program without walls (CBRP-WOW) formalized the local government’s role in the rehabilitation program after “surrenderees” were assessed as to their degree of affectation through the MIOP.

In the city districts where BCRP WOW has since gathered drug surrenderees into rehabilitation programs, fewer and fewer rehab clients continue to sit in the sessions, thinking that those who never showed were not touched anyway, bemoaned CADAC action officer Alvin Acuzar.

At the CPOC, barangay captains are starting to worry over reports that several people have reverted to drug use in the past weeks.

Degay however assured that these people continue to be under surveillance and in due time, the police would be at it again pressing on these people.

The request of the city police to the Liga Ng Mga Barangay however has been coursed back due to lack of funds.

According to City (Department) of Interior and Local Government (CILG) head Mardonio Roxas, the request is now coursed through the CPOC.

At the CPOC meeting January last week, City Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso, who presided over the meeting for Mayor Yap, the city committed to the request.

Now priced at P6,900 each, the city would be buying at least 9 of these body cameras to facilitate the request.  (Rey Anthony Chiu/PIA)




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