Police cars need cameras now

What happened to Billey Joe Johnson is a tragedy. Johnson was the 17 year old George County High School football star who died during a traffic stop in December. Police claim he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. That claim is denied by family and friends, who say Billey Joe had too much to live for.

Now a grand jury is conducting its own investigation into the mysterious death, and the community has been torn apart by rumor and speculation as to what really happened. But there did not have to be a mystery, and the rumors could have been halted from the very start.

If only the officer's patrol car that pulled over the teen had been equipped with a camera, none of this would be happening right now. The cameras are a powerful tool, and they never lie. What you see is what you get.

If a camera had been in place, there would be visual evidence as to what exactly happened. That is why we strongly urge all local governments, both city and county, to install cameras in patrol cars immediately. Some people might question the cost of doing so, but by not protecting the officers and suspects involved in traffic stops with a video record of the events, the cost of not doing so could be infinitely higher.

That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to editorials@wlox.com, or post your comments below.

David Vincent
WLOX-TV Station Manager