Attorney Tom Grieve and USCCA Director of Content Kevin Michalowski discuss the pros and cons of recording interactions with police officers. This is ignoring two-party consent laws and in relation, specifically, to after a self-defense incident — not having a dashcam on 24/7.
Grieve points out that if you act completely appropriately and present yourself in the best possible way, a video could help in court. However, be aware of everyone who may see this video. If you’re holding a cell phone while officers are responding to a “person with a gun” call, there may also be some personal safety issues.
When Recording Videos Goes Wrong
Kevin points out how things can go wildly wrong after recording a video as well. If you’re going to be recording everything you say, it’s important you’re saying the right things. The video recording will now be a permanent record of everything that happened. It’s also possible a prosecutor could use the video against you, claiming the video was recorded so that a defender could practice his or her story. Grieve adds that the phone may be taken as evidence and the police can now get a warrant to see everything else on your device.
To avoid the inherent risks that come with recording a video on your own phone, Grieve recommends a simple phone call to local law enforcement. You can politely and respectfully ask if they use body cams.
Should You Take a Video?
Like all the other parts of your self-defense plan, think about how recording videos may impact you ahead of time. There are times when it could be very helpful. But in a high-stress situation, it’s adding another variable to all of the things you’ll be thinking about.