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The Internet and cell phone cameras have created a sea change in the public’s perception of policing. And not necessarily in a good way. The “bad boyz” caught on camera are sometimes the Boys in Blue. And don’t they just know it. Back in March, the Aurora Colorado police arrested a woman for recording an arrest (ironically enough). If the cops draw down on the Joe Q. Public in the course of a taped confrontation, the videos goes viral—provided the police don’t confiscate the footage and/or slap the cuffs on fellow citizens. On the positive side, the police are starting to embrace the technology. TASER’s AXON Flex system has brought the price of data capture down to the point where ALL cops can record ALL of their interactions. Surely this signals a new era in police civility and accountability. Yes?

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  1. So is the goal now to see if you can have at least one negative thing to say about law enforcement per story. You remember how RECOIL shot itself in the foot, I have no doubt you are loosing followers because of all the police bashing. I no longer recommend your website to family, friends or coworkers. You have the right to run your page however you like. You should change the website name though. Maybe to The TAG campaign against corrupt law enforcement.

    • I actually considered this a “good news” story to counter-balance the negative stories which have peppered our pages for the last few days (for which I make no apologies). There will be more positive coverage—as soon as we find examples.

      If you have a link to a story that casts the police in a positive light, please email the link to [email protected].

      • I suspect most positive police press is like DGUs–not newsworthy unless heroic. But bad press is like zits–ignoring them won’t make then go away. And to me anyway, if the news is true and fairly presented, it isn’t “bashing.”

    • …and horn in on Radley Balko’s beat?


      Altho getting in touch with him might not be a bad idea….

    • Nice to see a counter-campaign is being organized against LEO criticism. If Q-Train and his friends want to go else where it leaves more bandwidth for us.
      You know you are making a difference when they get riled up.

    • “You remember how RECOIL shot itself in the foot, I have no doubt you are loosing followers because of all the police bashing.”

      Recoil offended it’s core audience, and the principles of the second amendment. The core audience of this site is not LE. It is mostly a community of citizen gun owners, many of which have had bad experiences with LEOs. If you want to stop police bashing, look to clean up the ranks before taking offense to the words of citizens with legit issues against the LE community.

      LE sites/blogs/etc are private. Almost all of them require you to submit proof that you are an officer before you can post. Now if one of those sites posted anti LEO articles, then the recoil comparison would hold water.

    • So reporting on the crimes committed by officers is “bashing”? Does that mean that when they report on an idiot who shot themselves with a gun that it’s “bashing” gun owners?

    • The camera helps both the cops and the citizens. It keeps the cops honest and the citizens honest and forces the media to go with the facts.

      The video from the links looks like what they did was justified and including the follow up press conference information shows what they did was correct.

      CT also passed a law this year making it legal for people to take video of police making an arrest. Everyone has seen that dash cams work in some instances this is just an extension. All of this is needed because there is no mutual trust.

      • “The camera helps both the cops and the citizens. It keeps the cops honest and the citizens honest and forces the media to go with the facts”


      • That is the biggest issue with the Video. The media doesn’t show the facts. They cut the video to fit the narrotive they are saying. We have all seen the video that looks bad for someone then when the go to court they are found not guilty because the part the press decided not to show proved they were not guilty.

        • It is easy for the press to edit tapes, harder for the police. The press just erases the time stamps and then edit at will. To be admissible in court, the time stamps have to be there to assure authenticity. And when authenticity is questionable, there are ways of finding out if the tape was altered. The press does not care about the authenticity or admissibility of evidence–only how good a story they can tell.

  2. This is a great development, because it levels the playing field and should therefore make everyone more comfortable. Cop doesn’t have to worry about the citizen strategically editing his video, because he’s got his own – and vice versa. Hooray for technology!

  3. My dad always said the true measure of a man is what he does when no one is looking. It’s sad that power is abused to often. This is definitely a step in the right direction.

    • That rule goes right along with “If you have to write your ‘Code of Ethics’ down, you’ve already lost.”

    • I’ve heard that saying from family too, but I always wondered, who’s around to do the measuring if no one is looking?

  4. Anything that brings transparency to policing will help.

    I kind of get a kick out of people defending the LEO profession from “too much” criticism. Not talking about it won’t help community relations or police image. Rooting out the troublemakers in a public manner will.

  5. I see this as a positive tool to keep everyone honest. Does anyone think that Rodney King would have gotten beaten like he did if the police involved knew that they were being recorded? I can see this reducing the number of stops for “driving while being black”, and also reducing inappropiate behavour towards young women by male officers. AS LONG AS IT CAN’T BE TURNED OFF by the officer.

  6. good police should want this, helps them convict the bad guys they do arrest, protects them from claims of brutality…. I know I’d feel much more comfortable interacting with police if I knew it were on camera. Every encounter I have now I’m always sitting there wondering if I got unlucky and am dealing with one of the few bad ones.

  7. It’s a great step in the right direction. Access to the video is the only issue.
    citizens,media, and courts may only see video when the police want it shown.
    when it’s not good for them, “video? what video? we didn’t have and camera’s on. ”
    or ” it’s a shame that video got lost/accidentaly erased, it would have showed exactly what we said happened. ” .

    • According to the video It can’t be erased although I call BS on that. It simple means the officer can’t erase. In the end it comes done to the poicy. If the cop is suppose to record everything and there is no video that will make a jury question the intergraty of the office. Defense attory get people off on mistakes in process all the time. It is an important part of our justice system. In a civil case it would be viewed as daming.


  8. In a word: No.

    As with dash cam footage, I’m sure that when it counts, it’ll be “lost” or suffer a mysterious “technical issue”.

    The only cameras that tend to point out unethical behavior are the ones said unethical behaviorists are unaware of.

    • That is not a very accurate statement. There are many instances of dash cams being used against officers…

      • And just as many “technical difficulties”. There are more than a few instances of such things.

        Were the camera footage securely archived by an independent third party with no possibility of misuse, it may very well go a long way to acting as a deterrent against unethical behavior. However, it isn’t.

  9. “The Internet and cell phone cameras have created a sea change in the public’s perception of policing.”

    Really? That’s odd, because I’ve been observing their arrogant malfeasance for over a decade on TV shows like COPS. They openly demonstrate their evil attitudes towards the citizenry every time an episode airs.

  10. I love it. The only down side is the cameras do not record unless the officer pushes the record button, which they could “forget” to do whenever it serves them. I think the cameras should be recording at all times. If recording time is limited to less than an officer’s shift, add more memory!

    I will say that I do not like using criminal asset forfeiture to pay for anything for the police. That creates a huge conflict of interest. Asset forfeiture, if legal through due process, should go to a state’s general fund or to the state’s libraries or something like that.

  11. Cops first , teachers next, then bankers, then criminals on parole, then gun owners… Who watches the watchers? So many comments advocating big brother. Who will stand up for you, when they finally come for you…?

  12. News flash: Nancy Pelosi has just introduced a bill regulating the use of non-journalist mass media cameras in public that record the police. She says that it is being done for the benefit of the people so the police will not hesitate to protect the public.

    • Wow, just wow. We have so many politicians who want to turn this into a police state instead of a free country. Quite frankly I would argue that anyone taking a cell phone video is constitutionally protected. We have freedom of the Press and technically we are all press because anyone of us can send new to either a news website like CNN or create a blog post on the internet.

    • Okay, I call BS. Show me a single link or evidence of this bill. Googling any variation of Pelosi and the claims you made results in absolutely nothing. I’ll be happy to admit I’m wrong if you post any evidence to back up your claims. Perhaps you should post evidence of the existence of such a bill, or admit you’re wrong and are spreading FUD.

  13. I would like to weigh in on the hole Police issue here. I’m pretty new to the site, only finding it a couple of weeks ago. I am not a police officer and have no ties to them in any type of relationship. Since I have found the site, I do believe that there has been a negative connotation on the site about police officers that does seem to bother me a little bit. Police do provide a necessary service, though they cannot protect us to the level we need without infringing upon rights that I hold dear and the Constitution does as well and would not ever give up. I think it’s important that the site does point out issues with police because the media does not do so enough. Seattle had serious issues with the cops using excessive force last year and there wasn’t enough public outrage because the media didn’t cause enough. So while I wish there wasn’t such a negative connotation, I think it’s better to have that than let the stuff go without anyone saying anything.

  14. I’m an LEO, and I’d use it. I already have a moderately – decent dash cam with zoom capability, so this wouldn’t be a huge change (although the video didn’t load on my iPhone). Our videos can already be subpoenaed in a court or civil action. If I’m caught in a lie, there is a good chance that I would lose my job since any future court testimony would be of little value.

  15. Every uniform’s badge should have a tamper-“proof” camera with battery that can record a whole shift’s video, then be recharged and have its video downloaded while off-duty. And no strategic placement of funeral bands or other obscuring objects.

    • Firing for evidence tampering? 5 years minimum. Quite honestly, maybe more. Your talking about a criminal act committed by a police officer that might result in the conviction of an innocent person. That’s not just a crime, but a betrayal of the public trust.

  16. I highly recommend everyone carry a small recording device of their own. Your phone can do this, but it is visible and obvious. I recommend what’s known as the “808” camera. It looks like a car key fob, costs as little as $13, and can record an hour straight with a full battery charge. Most people usually keep keys on them, and it’s innocuous enough that you can activate it without looking.

    You can buy them from many places, but here’s the definitive information resource:

  17. The police unions will never allow this. Can’t cover for each other if an unbiased camera is “on the job”. If I were a cop I would welcome such open observation. Can’t accuse an officer of misconduct if the video shows proper procedure was followed. This would hold all parties feet to the fire of truth. Now how the f is that cop bashing?

  18. “In the main, the “caught on camera” coppers haven’t benefited from the resulting footage. And don’t they just know it.”

    That would be wrong, Mr. Farago. Our department has cleared the Majority of officers after complaints were filed because of dash cams and personal video cams carried on the officer’s shirts. In fact, most citizens drop their complaints after learning that there is a video of the incident. Try again.

    • Yep. We have pretty much the same deal. If our recording equipment goes down, we are required to send it in and use equipment that works, if it is available, or note if it isn’t. I have had a few frivolous complaints exonerated that way without an issue. I like the recording devices because I don’t have anything to hide. Ditto for just about everyone in my department. If someone wants to video me on their phone, they have the right to do so, as long as they don’t get in my face with it, or place themselves in a precarious location.

      Also, I used a personal digital recorder before my department required me to use theirs. The whole recording deal doesn’t phase me much. Cameras and cell phones (and TMZ douchebags) are pretty much everywhere in SoCal anyways.

  19. These cameras are a good thing for Law Enforcement to deploy and will be rapidly improved to make them tamper-proof and reliable. Maybe Citizens who carry should embrace them as legal defensive tools in case they get involved in a DGU.
    Just sayin’….

  20. I’ve deleted the comments about whether or not this post belongs on TTAG. It’s an important question and rest assured that I’ve taken note of your warning about “mission creep.”

    [It’s true: I should have spun gun into this one (I.e., officer involved shootings).]

    Anyway, TTAG’s comments policy was designed to prevent comment creep. Like Godwin’s Law all comments eventually devolve, becoming about the website if you–well I—let them. So I don’t.

    I invite anyone who wants to discuss TTAG’s editorial stance or style to email me at [email protected].

    Please do not respond to this comment here. That would defeat the whole purpose of this message.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding.


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