Quoted: on cops objecting to being watched

“It’s interesting and ironic that those who watch us to stop us from breaking things themselves broke things so they wouldn’t be watched!”

Neil Richards, law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, on the Los Angeles Times report that Los Angeles Police Department officers tampered with patrol cars to avoid being monitored while they worked. Citing records and interviews, the LAT reported that antennas on which in-car video-recording equipment relies were removed from dozens of patrol cars. Removing the antennas reportedly reduced the range of the voice recorders.

The LAPD is among the law-enforcement agencies that have adopted technology to record officers’ encounters with the public. As we’ve written, some see the technology as a way to keep both cops and citizens accountable. But some watchers don’t want to be watched. For example, a proposal to install GPS tracking in Boston police cruisers cited officer safety as one reason, but an officer told the Boston Globe: “Who wants to be followed all over the place?”


Photo: LAPD officers tampered with recording gear in dozens of patrol cars to avoid being monitored, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. One inspection by investigators found that about half of the estimated 80 cars in one South Los Angeles division were missing antennas. (Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press)


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