Crime & Law Enforcement Issues & Death Penalty/Is this correct


QUESTION: “As a basic principle, we can’t tell you to stop recording,” says Delroy Burton, chairman of D.C.’s metropolitan police union and a 21-year veteran on the force. “If you’re standing across the street videotaping, and I’m in a public place, carrying out my public functions, [then] I’m subject to recording, and there’s nothing legally the police officer can do to stop you from recording.”

“What you don’t have a right to do is interfere,” he says. “Record from a distance, stay out of the scene, and the officer doesn’t have the right to come over and take your camera, confiscate it.”

Officers do have a right to tell you to stop interfering with their work, Burton told me, but they still aren’t allowed to destroy film.

ANSWER: Is this a quote from an interview that you conducted with Mr. Burton?  If so what is your question?

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QUESTION: Is this the proper way to follow, this are the rules that a camera man on the TV show cops have to follow?

The camera crew that follows the officers are instructed to maintain a fly on the wall position, not interfering or making their presence known on camera unless otherwise necessary for the safety of officers and civilians on scene. However, there have been multiple instances where the safety of the officers has necessitated their involvement.

There are no nationwide "rules" for people using cameras.  It's more of a matter of common sense.

It's completely different with TV shows like COPS or similar shows.  Those production companies have signed contracts with the various departments about what they can do and can't do.  It's different with your average Joe with a cellphone camera.  Joe obviously can't participate in a foot chase over fences and through alleys where the TV camera man can.

I would agree with Officer Burton in what he said.  

Crime & Law Enforcement Issues & Death Penalty

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Jack Toomey


If you are an author asking for help I will gladly assist. I do expect a reasonable donation using the Paypal icon. Please do NOT ask questions about potential jail sentences that you or your friends may receive in court. There is no way for me to know that. I am NOT a probation officer or a parole officer so questions about those subjects will be rejected. I am a police officer with 26 years experience. Can answer questions about crime, police procedure, investigations, criminal law, search and seizure, traffic offenses. Prefer not to answer questions on the death penalty. Please do not ask homework questions. Remember this. The law in every state is different so questions about laws that are specific to your state could be difficult to answer. I also cannot give you legal advice on what to do or not to do in court. I have worked with authors in the past and will be happy to review scenarios or plots with authors to check for believability or accuracy.


Police officer with 26 years experience. Ten years in patrol and sixteen years in the detective bureau investigating every type of crime including murder, rape, robbery, theft, fraud, missing persons, etc, etc. Also taught at the police academy in areas such as constitutional law, search and seizure, and lineups.

B.S. in Criminology from the University of Maryland.

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