For the second time in less than a year, a police officer writing for a cop trade magazine came out strongly against officers who arrest people for recording them.
Last year, it was an officer for a magazine/website called Law Officer.
This year, it is an officer for a magazine/website called American Cop.
In last month’s article, the officer made some logical points that frequently seem to go missed by officers in the field.
Below are four paragraphs that speak for themselves.
Aren’t we known for saying, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, what are you worried about?” This same mentality should also apply to us. If we’re doing our job professionally and within the law, what’ve we got to worry about if someone’s filming us — especially if they’re doing so without getting in our way? If we decide we don’t like being filmed and take our attention away from what we’re doing, we are the ones delaying ourselves, not the person filming us. If the person is making snide comments, ignore it unless the comments are inciting a riot, but there again it will all be caught on film, right?
Should we ever expect to have a right to privacy when we’re in public? I don’t think so; cops are public employees. We can record comments and statements made by suspects/arrestees sitting in the back of our police cars where there’s no expectation of privacy. Thus, there should be an even lower standard of privacy outside the police car. We routinely record and surveil citizens without their permission, so why should there be a separate set of rules regarding them recording or filming us? If a bad guy doesn’t have to consent to being filmed, cops shouldn’t either. Should Internal Affairs be required to get consent to film or record from a cop suspected of criminal or unprofessional conduct?
‘I think back at the number of times I was made aware I was being taped and I can’t recall ever giving a rat’s ass about it. I was also never hauled into IA to watch a video of me misbehaving either. So maybe those of us getting our skirts up over our heads about this should take a long hard look in the mirror before crying foul.
The reality is, cops have very public jobs, like it or not. We’re expected to behave professionally even when faced with overwhelming challenges. The public generally knows we’ve got a tough job, but no one is forcing us to do it. Some people have an axe to grind with police tactics, there’s no changing this mindset, and they’ll do their best to catch us making mistakes, misbehaving, abusing our authority or losing control. It happens sometimes to the best of us. It’s best to admit our mistakes and take our lumps.
It’s refreshing to see cops with an influential position speak their mind about an issue most cops won’t talk about.
But I wonder if the only cops reading these magazines are the ones who take their profession seriously enough to already know they should respect photographers.
Because the ones who don’t respect photographers are the ones who don’t respect their own profession.