LAPD officers sabotage their own voice-recorders: nothing to hide, nothing to fear?

The Los Angeles Police Department is trying to do something about its notoriously bad human rights record: it has equipped officers with belt-worn voice-recorders that feed tamper-evident uploading stations in their cruisers. Unfortunately for anyone who advocates for the basic honesty of the LAPD, these have been widely sabotaged by officers, with more than half of the receiver antennas being vandalized or removed, which sharply reduces the recorders' range. Boston cops reacted the same way when logging GPSes were added to their cars. As Washington University law prof Neil Richards notes, it's a pretty ironic turn, in that the cops apparently feel like being surveilled while going about their normal business is an unreasonable impingement on their freedom.

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  1. It could be fixed with some policy changes by the department, but I don't see it happening.

    Equipment damaged? No pay for that day. Equipment down too often? Desk job or firing for you.

    ETA: Obviously formal wording would need to be tightened up and loopholes closed.

  2. Who watches the watchmen? Nobody at all, if they have anything to say about it.

  3. Caught tampering with monitoring devices while acting as an officer of the court? Go to jail.

  4. There is an easy way to suppress this. Legislation stating that, if the recordings are not available, the police's testimony, including testimony exculpatory of themselves, is not admissible. It is a variant of the doctrine of spoilation. If you spoil the evidence, the other guy can say what he wants, and you can't argue against it.

  5. dobby says:

    Colby​gk, as opposed to a non-officer of the court where we would have always gone to jail for tampering with police monitoring devices.
    When will cops get additional sentence for abusing the trust rather than a free pass because we don't want to abuse our hard working peace officers. Other professions are both more difficult and far more deadly yet they do not get to choose suspension without pay or dismssal over prison time for the majority of crimes.
    I would support requiring every peace officer applicant requiring a license to practice law and spending several years as public defender before getting a badge and gun, and paying them appropriately for the schooling. This is to weed out those just seeking a job where they can oppress or at least permit oppression to occur. We have made a terrible mistake converting our soldiers and marines into police officers and bringing the military wartime culture into the police force even as the rest of society has matured.
    Such power carries heavy responsibility, arguably equivalent that of a judge, pilot, or surgeon. There should be both the requirement of significant personal investment as the three occupations mentioned as well as appropriate compensation for the investment and responsibility of those careers. With such a weighty investment of time, money, and effort as well as the good compensation there would be more incentive to stay on the right side of the law rather than cause or abet police forces becoming uniformed gangs with the sovereign monopoly on force.

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