Carlos Miller shows why even when police departments get it right on policy, those policies are meaningless in the real world if the officers don’t get adequate training — and if there aren’t consequences for violating that policy, especially when they have an obvious incentive to ignore it.
On the day after Washington D.C. police implemented a new general order stating they must respect the rights of citizens who record them in public, an undercover cop snatched a cell phone from a man who was recording an investigation in public.
When they finally returned the phone back to Earl Staley later that day, he said his memory card was missing.
Now the ACLU, which assisted in drafting the policy, says that perhaps the officer did not know of the guidelines.
That’s still no excuse.
No, it isn’t. It isn’t enough to just put out a policy statement. Every officer in the department must be trained on compliance with the new rule, and they must know that there will be consequences if they violate it. There is a very clear incentive for an officer to ignore this rule to protect themselves, so the rule has to have some teeth or it’s going to be ignored when it is needed most.