Should the good and the bad of police officer activity be a public record?

An initiative on the California ballot that would require police officers “create an audio-visual recording of all contacts with or searches of citizens” is now gathering signatures. If approved by the voters, the measure would mandate that “a copy of the recording be provided to affected citizens who are arrested and charged with a crime.”

The recent closure of police disciplinary records throughout California has prompted the introduction of AB 1648, Peace officer records, which would make information in certain disciplinary records pertaining to peace officers available to the public.

The swinging legislative pendulum in Missouri would restrict the release of police internal affairs records. Michigan already has limited access to police discipline files.

Should private investigators have access to police disciplinary reports or officer activity videotapes?

2 Responses to “Should the good and the bad of police officer activity be a public record?”

  • In addition to office disciplinary reports, Its my belief that every officer involved in a physicial confrontation whether physical or deadly, should be tested (blood) for drugs and alcohol the same as the suspect/aggressor/detainee. In most cases the suspect/agressor/detainee automatically has his or her blood drawn for toxicology purposes and in some cases positive results for drugs relieves the officer involved from criminal prosecution. The  National statisticts state that over 85% of the population is on one form or another of addictive prescription drugs.
    As in the words of some police officers: “If you don’t have anything to hide submitt to the test”

  • Keith M. Kirby:

    Yes, the information would be a very useful tool when conducting defense investigations.
    Every police department has a few officers that believe they are above the law. If the reports were available to investigators those few officers might think twice before over-extending their capacity.

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