The camera on the windshield sends the video to the computer that records fair picture of events. Law enforcement gets more and more complaints from the citizens, so a decision was made to equip every officer with audio and video recording devices, which helps both police officers and their opponents.
“We have cameras, we wear microphones,” says Eugene, “so when something happens, we have a record of it, starting from 30 seconds prior to the event. The recording can be turned on either manually, or automatically when we stop the car or get into an accident”.
If the detainee files a complaint, the video recording will be presented in the court.
Although, according to Eugene, videos do not always present a fair picture of the events. Sometimes a video published on the internet. does not reveal crucial details such as a movement of the detainee’s hand, or his attempt to reach for a weapon, or his mental condition and so on.
The traffic department pays great attention to preventing accidents and educating drivers and pedestrians. Eugene Semeryuk warns:
“Imagine you are driving a car at 25 miles an hour, and a little boy runs out on the road in front of you chasing his soccer ball. You instantly hit the brakes, but the car takes at least 80 feet to stop. So take your speed seriously!”
From a Marine in Afghanistan to a patrolman in Sacramento
Finally we stop at the very center of the state’s capital, Downtown Sacramento is to the left of us, the Tower Bridge is on the right. Alexei Venikon describes his first weeks in the police force.
“Today I visited a mother who complains about her 13-year-old daughter beating her and misbehaving. She is 30 years old, how am I supposed to teach her to live with her daughter? She calls me and asks me to teach her to be a mother. This is probably the most difficult type of calls we get”.
Serving in the California police is much easier than serving in Afghanistan in full battle dress, under the blazing sun and in the gun sights of the Mujahideen. That is where Alexei had to spend four years of his life.
“My first assignment was a gunman in Afghanistan, and then I was a platoon commander”, says Alexei. “We had those little bottles of water we used to wash our hair. And sometimes we just had wet napkins to wipe ourselves. We spent seven months without a shower, we slept right on the ground, we had no electricity. We ate, what do you call them, the MREs – if you served in the military, you know what those are. The heat was 120-130 degrees in the shade, and I was always wearing my bulletproof vest and carrying my machine gun, a total of 60 pounds of weight.”
“Alexei Venikon served 4 years as a Marine in the US Armed Forces, he made two tours to Afghanistan, so he has the tactical skills and the ability to make quick decisions. Also, both of them speak Russian, which is very important because West Sacramento has a lot of Russian-speaking people. When I started in the department in 1999, I was answering all the Russian calls we got”, says Eugene.
According to him, many newcomers project the laws of their country to the American reality, which causes them unnecessary problems. Some other immigrants turn all their efforts to making money and let the street take care of their children. Very soon they face dire consequences when their sons and daughters turn to crime or drug use. Some parents call Eugene and ask him to “come and punish” their children. But Eugene explains to them that “this is not how things are done in America”.
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