CCPD POLICY ON PUBLIC VIDEO/AUDIO RECORDINGS OF OFFICERS
DISCLAIMER: The following FAQs and summaries were produced by the Policing Project, a non-profit organization. Although based on official policies of the Camden County Police Department, they do NOT represent official CCPD policy, practice, custom, or procedure. These FAQs and summaries should not be treated as complete or comprehensive. To read the official CCPD policy in full, view them here or click the blue button on each summary page.
Can members of the public photograph or record officers?
Under the First Amendment, members of the public have a constitutional right to watch, photograph, and video or audio record officers who are performing their duties, so long as the person has the right to be present at that location and does not interfere with the officer’s work. This means that a person can record in a public place (such as a park, sidewalk, or street), or at their home or business.
Can officers stop or discourage a member of the public from taking photographs or recording?
Unless the recording interferes with police activity or the person does not have a legal right to be present at that location, officers cannot say that recording is prohibited, requires a permit, or requires the officer’s consent. The officer also cannot:
Order the person to stop;
Demand the person’s identification;
Demand a reason for taking photographs or recording the officer;
Stop the person from leaving;
Intentionally block cameras or recording devices; or
Threaten, intimidate or discourage the person recording.
What can officers do when they are photographed or recorded?
An officer may ask questions but cannot require the person to answer, unless the officer reasonably believes that the person is also engaged in criminal activity.
Can an officer take the photographs or recordings of a member of the public?
An officer can request photographs or a recording only if it is reasonable to believe that they contain evidence of a crime. If the owner refuses to turn over photographs or recordings, the officer cannot take them without a search warrant, unless he or she believes that they may be lost or destroyed before a warrant can be obtained.
Taking photographs or recordings is a temporary measure. The officer must still obtain a warrant if the owner did not give consent. Unless there is an emergency or consent was given, the officer will not review photographs or recordings before a search warrant is obtained. After taking the photographs or recordings, the owner of the recording will be given a case number to assist in retrieving their property at a later time.
Officers are prohibited from damaging, destroying or deleting any photograph or recording.