Greg Stump
EYES ON YOU!It was a sight that made security guards nervous: A motley tour group being led slowly through downtown last Friday afternoon. The group was examining the generous number of security cameras that are perched atop buildings and along Nordstrom's metal awnings. Heading up the tour was Bill Brown, a leading member of the NYC-based Surveillance Camera Players (SCP) and security camera awareness expert.

Known for performing abbreviated versions of dramas like 1984 in front of subway security cameras, SCP strives to highlight the encroaching Big Brother factor in modern life. During walking tours of downtown, Brown sighted 61 cameras between SW 1st and SW 10th, and Madison and Alder.

"Are these cameras really keeping us safe?" he asked, pointing out that cameras prevent crime when and if people are aware they're being watched. "But there's a difference between watching us and protecting us."

For more information, check out notbored.org/the-scp.html. ANNA SIMON

LIES AND VIDEOTAPEOver the past several years, hundreds of convicted murderers have stepped forward to recant their confessions, claiming the police coerced them into admitting crimes they did not commit. Often backed by DNA, these recantations have helped spring hundreds of innocent men from prison.

Now, to promote more fair and accurate police interrogation, the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyer's Association is pushing House Bill 2079, a bill requiring police to electronically record any statements made during custodial interrogation.

Standard interrogation tactics allow police to lie, mislead suspects about evidence, and interrogate for such a lengthy time that suspects turn into mental and emotional mush. With video or tape recordings, say proponents of the bill, police would be deterred from abusing interrogations, and juries would be able to experience--and evaluate--the suspect's interrogation.

Currently, only Alaska and Minnesota currently require such recording. Prosecutors in both states have reported that taping interrogations leads to fewer accusations of police coercion and, actually, more convictions. Of course, the bill allows an exception if the tape recorder is broken. ANNE MARTENS