Cheers: To police transparency. The Vancouver Police Department is on track to receive $1.5 million in federal funds to support a new body camera and dashboard camera program. The program, which long has been under consideration, will improve accountability and protect both officers and the public.
Jeff Anaya of the Vancouver Police Officer’s Guild said: “Use of body cameras will show the public firsthand the professionalism, compassion, and dedication Vancouver police officers display during the course of their duty to the community every single day.” That is an important point in ongoing national discussions about the actions of police. Ideally, videos will be used to demonstrate the vast amount of good work performed by officers and not be used solely to answer questions about possible brutality.
Jeers: To spreading misinformation. YouTube has removed video of the July 13 meeting of the Vancouver school board because of misinformation (and profanity) from community members. In a message to the district, YouTube representatives said: “YouTube does not allow content that spread medical misinformation that contradicts the World Health Organization (WHO) or local health authorities’ medical information about COVID-19, including methods to prevent, treat or diagnose COVID-19 and means of transmission of COVID-19.”
Persistent misinformation about coronavirus has contributed to the resiliency of the pandemic. Many people dispute the best available scientific information about the virus and vaccines, choosing instead to believe specious information. Regardless of how often an untruth is repeated, it still is an untruth.
Cheers: To elections. Admittedly, we are political junkies here at the Opinion page, but all citizens should be excited about the opportunity to vote. Ballots for this year’s primary have been mailed and must be postmarked or dropped off by the Aug. 3 election.
If you are a registered voter living in a jurisdiction with an election this year but have not received a ballot, the Clark County Elections Department offers several remedies. And if you are not registered, there still is time to sign up.
Jeers: To dumping pythons. Camas police found eight medium-sized pythons Thursday near the parking area of Lacamas Park. The snakes, which ranged from 3 feet to 6 feet in length, are believed to have been pets and dumped at the park by their owner. “I remember a snapping turtle was found (in Lacamas Park) about 10 or 12 years ago, but I don’t recall any (pythons) — at least not eight of them,” a Camas police sergeant told the Camas-Washougal Post-Record.
Pythons have become a problematic invasive species in Florida, but they probably could not survive a winter in the cooler temperatures of the Northwest. Regardless of their mortality, dumping any pet in a public space is irresponsible, dangerous to the public and cruel to the creatures.
Cheers: To motocross. The Washougal MX National returns this weekend after taking a year off because of the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships, the event is an elite motorcycle race through the dirt and jumps of Washougal MX Park.
The Washougal MX National typically has the largest attendance of any sporting event in Clark County, and likely the entire metro area. But ticket sales are limited this year in order to comply with COVID restrictions. Still, it will be a boost to the region and a welcome reminder that things eventually will get back to normal in a post-pandemic world.