Is Videotaping Police By Using New ACLU App a Good Idea?

An ACLU chapter has come up with a smart phone app that allows citizens to record and store video and audio of police encounters. Do you think it is right to make this app available to citizens?

Dacula Patch reported recently on a free smartphone app that the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has launched that allows citizens to record and store both video and audio of police encounters.

“This app provides an essential tool for police accountability,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Deborah Jacobs in a statement posted on the chapter's website. “Too often incidents of serious misconduct go unreported because citizens don’t feel that they will be believed. Here, the technology empowers citizens to place a check on police power directly.” 

The app operates in "stealth" mode. Once recording begins, the app disappears from the screen "to prevent any attempt by police to squelch the recording."

The “Police Tape” app is available for free download for Android at the moment at http://www.aclu-nj.org/yourrights/the-app-place/. An Apple version is expected to follow.

Do you think this is a good idea? Is it acceptable to secretly tape the police?

Tammy Osier July 08, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Aren't there already video tapes in the cars? And you have people pulling out their phones now and sending things to youtube to go viral. I'm with Sharon and Kristi- Most likely incriminate oneself more than Police, but as Sharon said, the editing that can be done to hook somebody might tie up the legal system worse than it already is.
M.K. OSBORNE July 08, 2012 at 08:52 PM
The ACLU would never support placing employees under surveillance . what ? They must be sleeping then ! cameras are everywhere in retail and other jobs such as offices etc. and yes they are used in non security situations involving employees on the job.
Marne M July 09, 2012 at 12:49 AM
I am a police officer. When I was still on the road, I audio-taped every encounter I had with citizens, simply because then there would never be any confusion about what I did or did not say. I have no fear of being taped. We're starting to carry personal video recorders now too -- it's optional, for the time being, but I see it becoming required in the future. Technology is changing the world. I figured we'd better be ready for it. Many of us are going to find ourselves on tape more and more often.
Ryan Smith July 09, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Really? The ACLU was happy to represent Rush Limbaugh, one of their biggest detractors.


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