FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Cobalt Software Platform - Mark43
Mark43's Cobalt software platform unites a set of law enforcement tools securely...


Demystifying the Convergence of LTE and LMR Networks for First Responders

Brought to you by:

View now!

Originally aired: Thursday, December 6, 2018 -- 11:00 AM PT/2:00 PM ET

Narrowband Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks and user radio equipment have been the cornerstone of mobile communications for First Responders for decades. The trend from traditional analog to more robust wireless broadband networks in recent years has improved the overall accessibility but questions remain on whether the new networks can provide all the required capabilities First Responders need to do their job.

Increasing demand for bandwidth intensive applications such as video, advanced mapping and analytics, alongside critical voice communications has been driving adoption of broadband LTE cellular networks, such as FirstNet.

Join our panel of industry experts for this insightful 60-minute on-demand webinar as they discuss the critical differences between LMR networks and LTE networking, how these technologies can successfully co-exist, and explore the future of critical communications for First Responders.

In this session, you will learn:

  • Current and future industry trends for LTE and LMR technologies
  • Challenges and obstacles with the convergence of technologies
  • Real-life examples of successful hybrid communication strategies for First Responders
  • Recommendations for future proofing your agency; adoption of new technologies and how to bridge the gap


Tony Morris, VP North American Sales, Enterprise Solutions, Sierra Wireless

Jesus Gonzalez, Analyst II, Critical Communications, IHS Markit

Ken Rehbehn, Principal Analyst, Critical Communications Insights

Andrew Seybold, Senior Partner, Andrew Seybold Inc.

View now!

6 Key Findings of Incident Reporting

Brought to you by:

View now!

Originally aired: Thursday, December 13, 2018 -- 11:00 AM PT/2:00 PM ET

An exceeding number of police departments and law enforcement agencies, whose officers spend upwards of 3-4 hours a day completing incident reports and other time-sensitive paperwork*, are turning to smarter tools, such as speech recognition solutions, to help transform their police reporting workflows.

View this on-demand webinar to hear why these law enforcement professionals are embracing smarter tools to complete higher-quality reports and move mission-critical information within the CAD/RMS faster and more efficiently – all by voice.

This discussion will provide you with an understanding of:

  • What law enforcement has to say about current reporting processes
  • Why officers, especially recruits, want smarter tools to help with police paperwork
  • Why manual reporting has a negative impact on report accuracy and productivity and can hinder criminal proceedings
  • How departments can speed up data entry within the CAD/RMs and move mission-critical information more accurately and efficiently
  • How speech recognition technology can help increase officer safety and improve situational awareness and productivity on patrol
  • Why embracing smarter technology increases community visibility, and minimizes costs

Learn how your department can make incident reporting faster, safer and more complete by viewing our on-demand webinar today.

*Role of Technology in Law Enforcement Paperwork Survey 


Eric La Scola, Product Marketing Manager, Dragon, Nuance

Departments : Point of Law

Video and You

The First Amendment says the public can record you at work, and any attempt by you to stop them is actionable.

October 02, 2013  |  by Devallis Rutledge - Also by this author

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of
Cameras, with and without audio, exist everywhere in 21st Century America. They are mounted on your police car, worn on your uniform, affixed to nearby buildings and utility poles, and built into smartphones and other devices carried in people's pockets and purses. If you aren't speaking and behaving at all times in public the way you want to appear when you're uploaded on YouTube, you could have some unpleasant surprises in store.

When you're in the middle of a vehicle stop or investigative encounter and you notice your suspect or a bystander pointing a recording device in your direction, can you order the person to stop recording? Seize the recording device? Arrest the person for unlawful recording? In most circumstances, the answers are probably no, no, and no.

The Constitution and Statutes

The federal government and many states have laws forbidding non-consensual recording of confidential communications. However, such statutes do not apply to your performance of official duties in public because your exchanges with suspects, victims, and witnesses are not "confidential." Your actions and communications are generally in public view—or at least within sight and hearing of the person doing the recording. Also, you may be making your own recording, and everything that's said and done will likely be described in an official crime or arrest report to be read by supervisors, attorneys, judges, and others.

And even if your statutes are written in such a way as to prohibit citizens recording what you do and say in public, statutes cannot reduce the constitutional protections people enjoy under the First and Fourth Amendments. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The act of recording matters of public interest is shielded by the right of free speech. Any arrest made in retaliation for a person's exercise of constitutional rights is an unreasonable arrest. Therefore, arresting someone for taping you in the performance of official duty, or seizing someone's recording device, could violate the First and Fourth Amendments, creating potential civil liability.

Federal Case Law

Although the U.S. Supreme Court has not issued a ruling in any case that presented these issues, numerous lower courts have confronted them in federal civil rights lawsuits. The consistent rulings in these cases is that officers may not intimidate citizens into surrendering their First Amendment rights, may not lawfully seize a person's cameras or tapes at will, and may not lawfully arrest a person for exercising his or her constitutional rights. Examples include the following cases.

  • Robinson v. Fetterman (E.D. Pennsylvania). A plaintiff was awarded $35,000 compensatory damages, plus $2,000 punitive damages against each of three state troopers because they unlawfully arrested him for videotaping them at a highway checkpoint. According to the court, "Videotaping is a legitimate means of gathering information for public dissemination. The free speech clause of the Constitution protected plaintiff as he videotaped the troopers. The police, under the cover of an invalid state law, do not have unfettered discretion to arrest individuals for words or conduct that annoy or offend them. The troopers retaliated against plaintiff for exercising his First Amendment right to videotape police conduct. Thus, we find the troopers liable for violating plaintiff's First and Fourth Amendment rights."
  • Glik v. Cuniffe (1st Circuit, Massachusetts). Officers arrested Glik for using his cell phone's digital video camera to record the arrest of a man on the Boston Common. In denying the police immunity from lawsuit, the court said this: "Glik was exercising clearly established First Amendment rights in filming the officers in a public space, and his Fourth Amendment rights were violated by his arrest without probable cause. The fact that the officers were unhappy they were being recorded during an arrest does not make the lawful exercise of a First Amendment right into a crime."
  • Smith v. Cumming (11th Circuit, Georgia). The appellate court affirmed that citizens have a constitutional right to record police in public, saying, "Plaintiffs had a First Amendment right to photograph or videotape police conduct. The First Amendment protects that right to gather information about what public officials do on public property, and specifically, a right to record matters of public interest."
  • Kelly v. Carlisle (3rd Circuit, Pennsylvania). Officers were subject to suit for arresting a citizen who was recording them during a traffic stop, even though the local prosecutor had erroneously advised them there was probable cause to arrest. "A wave of the prosecutor's wand cannot magically transform an unreasonable probable cause determination into a reasonable one," the court ruled.
  • Johnson v. Hawe (9th Circuit, Washington). Police chief could be sued for arresting a citizen who videotaped him as he sat in his patrol car.
  • Thompson v. Clio (M.D. Alabama). Police chief was held liable for seizing a cassette recorder and arresting the citizen who was trying to record proceedings at a public meeting.
  • Iowa v. Lambert (S.D. Iowa). Officers who seized a videotape from a witness who was taping a fatal street fight were found liable for violating his First and Fourth Amendment rights.
  • Fordyce v. Seattle (9th Circuit, Washington). Officer was subject to suit for arresting a bystander for videotaping a public demonstration.

Recordings and "Plain View"

In some of the cases cited above, officers sought to justify their seizures of recording devices under the "plain view" doctrine. It has long been held that evidence seen in plain view of an officer can be seized without a warrant. (Harris v. US) However, the "plain view" doctrine has two essential requirements: (1) officers must be in a lawful position to have the view and to retrieve the evidence, and (2) the evidentiary nature of the item must be "immediately apparent."(Horton v. California)

The Supreme Court has said that if officers must move an object or open or examine it in order to determine its evidentiary nature, the "plain view" doctrine does not apply. (Arizona v. Hicks) Officers who believe that a citizen's camera or recording device may have captured evidence of a crime or a criminal's identity may indeed see the device in plain view; however, the device is not itself evidence. Rather, it is the recorded content of the device that may constitute evidence, and that content is not in plain view. (Walter v. US) Without examining the contents, it cannot be determined whether the device was actually recording, or what images or sounds were captured. Therefore, the requirement that the evidentiary nature be "immediately apparent" cannot be met.

Lawful Alternatives

Instead of seizing a witness' recording device that might contain evidence, it may be better to try to finesse the person's consent to let you borrow the device long enough to make a copy. If this doesn't work, the next step is probably applying to a magistrate for a search warrant.

Before you arrest someone for recording your official conduct, and before you seize someone's property because it might contain audio or video evidence, it's a good idea to check with your civil legal advisor (not just your prosecutor) to see what the limitations are in your jurisdiction.

In any event, you're well-advised to assume you're always being recorded, and to speak and act accordingly.

Devallis Rutledge is a former police officer and veteran prosecutor who currently serves as special counsel to the Los Angeles County district attorney. He is the author of 12 books, including "Investigative Constitutional Law."

Read additional "Point of Law" articles here.

Comments (3)

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

Chuck @ 10/3/2013 4:51 PM

I find it kind of funny how people (especially the "liberal" ones) can pick and choose when and how they fall back on the Constitution. the First and Fourth Amendments are almost absolute to them because they like them, the Second Amendment, ahh not so much because the don't really like that one. Pick and chose, pick and chose.

Capt. Crunch @ 10/4/2013 10:56 AM

When I was in training my FTO told me " when you are in a situation pretend you are in a court of law and the judge and jury are watching you". Does not matter how many cameras are on you when you do the right thing.

BeverlyHillbillyCOP @ 10/5/2013 1:44 PM

I have no problem with someone recording me, I will smile for them given the chance. My question would be if the camera is alleged to have recorded something of value and belongs to a not so friendly or sympathetic subject would case law support the camera being seized to prevent the evidence from being destroyed until the issuance of a search warrant? Warrants take time delete takes 5 seconds.

Join the Discussion

POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.
Police Magazine