Law enforcement officers should be ready for their close-up

Law enforcement officers should be ready for their close-up

Law enforcement officers should be ready for their close-up

These days, people do not need a high-priced camcorder to record video. In fact, in a time when most mobile phones have camera features, shooting and uploading video onto websites like YouTube and Facebook has never been easier. For this reason, members of law enforcement should be camera-ready when on duty, as some individuals are eager to document the actions of the police.

Currently, 37 states and the District of Columbia allow people to record other parties without consent, according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are states where this is not permitted. However, as laws have a tendency to change over time, members of the police force should consider periodically updating their law enforcement training so they are doing their job armed with the latest knowledge.

While Illinois has traditionally been a state where it is against the law to record conversations with law enforcement officials and everyday citizens without their consent, there is much opposition to this rule. After all, those who tape a conversation without consent in the Prairie State are considered to be committing a first-class felony that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Annabel Melongo became a victim of this law after she recorded her phone conversation with a county clerk, The Christian Science Monitor reported. Her punishment was 20 months in prison, with a release that followed public scrutiny over the severe measures.

The extreme nature of Illinois’ law has prompted the American Civil Liberties Union to pursue a permanent injunction against the rule that says people cannot record members of law enforcement.

“We are hopeful that we are moving closer to a day when no one in Illinois will risk prosecution when they audio record public officials performing their duties,” Harvey Grossman, the legal director of the ACLU of Illinois, told the news outlet. “Empowering individuals and organizations in this fashion will ensure additional transparency and oversight of public officials across the state.”

While most people, including those who hold law enforcement jobs, do not enjoy being recorded without permission, they do not have much to be afraid of so long as they are not doing anything wrong. In a society where actions, whether right or wrong, could be recorded at any second, public servants are encouraged to make sure they are always following proper procedure while on duty.

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