We’ve all seen the television shows. People who skip bail, tracked down by bounty hunters, arrested, and put back behind bars, and all caught on camera. Dog the Bounty Hunter is one example of a popular TV show, exposing individuals who have not only broken the law, but who refuse to follow the terms and agreements made with their bondsman, or skipping their court date all together.
Some people who run into this situation have questions whether or not they can officially refuse to be videotaped if ever in this situation. They wonder if the cameras are a violation to their privacy, civil rights, or if it can be avoided all together. However, unfortunately, refusal to be recorded in situations like this are completely allowed and permissible for camera crews and authorities, especially if the incidents are occurring in public places. According to police handbooks and laws across the nation, methods of recording a civilian during an encounter with police is allowed, and even welcomed, in order to properly document the situation and protect the individual and officer with the truth of the occurrence. As we all know, stories between officers and civilians can be spun negatively on both sides, in a “he said she said” kind of way. So, because of this, recording occurrences is an accurate way to reveal truth in a proper manner for not only the courts to view and decide, but for the public to do so as well.
In order for an officer to obtain legal possession of a recording device, they must file an application within their department or jurisdiction to have one on hand. Once this is obtained, officers can record any and all encounters that occur in public settings. There is no law prohibiting officers or civilians from recording circumstances in a public place, so the expectation of privacy in public does not exist for anyone. In addition, officers or camera crews are not required to tell the individual in question that they are being recorded. However, if unwanted video recording occurs in a private settings or on private property without the individual or owner’s consent, contacting a lawyer would be the next best bet.