Monday, August 6, 2012

Police and Citizen Interaction in the 21st Century

Look what the New York Civil Liberties Union has come out with:

Check the article out at NYCLU

This is what the police must deal with in 21st century law enforcement.  Every move they make is recorded.  Surveillance cameras record the street, cameras are in the police cars, and every person walking around has a video recorder on their phone.

I'm sure most police don't like having video cameras thrust into their face while they are doing their job.  Just think about someone walking up to you in the middle of your work day and recording everything you did, waiting for you to mess up or maybe check those fantasy football stats on your work computer.

Most citizens probably don't like the fact that they are recorded 24 hours a day either.  ATM cameras, store cameras, police cameras follow us everywhere we go.  But let's face it, cameras keep both citizens and law enforcement honest.

Apps like these and citizens taking videos should make everyone think twice.  The police have to keep this in the back of their mind when dealing with a citizen.  Citizens must be aware that most of their interactions with police are probably being recorded too.  Citizens should know their rights and police officers should too.  A little extra vigilance on either side isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I'm off for training until Wednesday morning and then I'm teaching the newest crop of rookies at the police academy. 


  1. I think this is a bit overboard but then again, I live in a city where, from what I hear, police brutality is a real problem. This makes me think of all those people who will tape a crime on their cell phones but not intervene. Like all these beating deaths that people tape on their cell phones. Isn't there some law against watching someone beat someone else to death and not doing anything to stop it--but taping it on your phone instead? I know it's not safe to get involved but still, I always want to punch those people in the head.

    1. Good Samaritan laws I think you mean. They don't exist in NY or in most states for that matter. Only Vermont and Minnesota, that I know of, demands persons at an emergency scene have a duty to aid others if there is no danger to themselves. If not, they are faced with fines or jail. The statutes also limit the ability of the injured party to sue the good samaritan who renders aid. Many states have taken this step to limit liabilities for people trying to help as we've all heard horror stories about the samaritan getting sued by the victim.

  2. Hi, I enjoy your blog very much. Please keep up the great work (both in the DA's office and on the Blog).

    I live in Israel and this has become a particularly thorny issue when soldiers interact with protesters. I agree with you that is not a bad thing (the truth is we should always behave as if someone is watching us).

    It becomes an issue when agitators go out of their way to irritate a Law Enforcement Officer or Soldier. When that happens, the camera is rolling and it reflects poorly on the Officer as well as the Agency the Officer works for. Unfortunately, what you don't see on camera is the offensive behavior that led to what appears to be an unwarranted response.

    I suspect that this might become an issue in the States as well and Officers should be warned to be very careful especially when someone is trying to get the best of them (there may be a hidden agenda).

    1. Thank you for following.

      That is always the problem on television. We never see the full video, only the portion that will inflame. Officers have to be aware of the cameras, but still do their jobs. Unfortunately, their jobs require force sometimes.

  3. This is amazing! Every city needs this.