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Active real-time audio mikes in cars - legal?

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  • Active real-time audio mikes in cars - legal?

    A friend of mine from another department advised me today that his management wants to wire all the patrol cars with live, real-time, audio mics, which can be monitored back at station.

    The cars already have some sort of GPS reporting now.

    Is this legal? What happens when he gets a phone call from his wife, can the station now eavesdrop on his private conversations?

    etc etc

    thanks

  • #2
    Sounds legal to me. Where is the expectation of privacy while you are in city/county property? That seems like a lot of money. What is the justification for the expense? Or did something occur for this to happen?

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    • #3
      That sounds like a PD with too much time on their hands.

      I would never work for a place like that......

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      • #4
        I don't see how it would be done. Even wireless mics have a limited range and are subject to interference from any distance. It is more likely that they will have a recoding device in the car than being able to listen in from the station.
        As far as legal...yes. There is no expectation of privacy in property owned by the agency...hence they can cut your lock off of their locker in the locker room and search your locker any time..same as in the schools.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by satpak77
          Is this legal? What happens when he gets a phone call from his wife, can the station now eavesdrop on his private conversations?
          why doesn't he just step out of the car for the conversation? Seems like it would be a lot easy than worrying about the department listenin to the call.

          Nothing is private these days

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          • #6
            Why would you want to wire the cruisers? Sounds like management has some issues in that agency!!! I'd look for another place of employment.

            Good Luck w/ that one!
            ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN ACTIONS, DON'T BLAME OTHERS!!!

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            • #7
              I would afraid to sing in the cruiser to a good song...or heck pass gas or burp....

              As others have said I would not want to work for such a place like that...


              Talk about micromanagement
              THE OTHER PLACE...A Forum to get away to

              Patience with ignorance

              Everyone is gay until proven striaght.

              I am the one you want and what you want is so unreal--M.M.

              When all of your wishes are granted, many of your dreams will be destroyed--M.M.

              Art may imitate life, but life imitates TV--Ani Difranco

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DUI_eliminator
                There is a thing called A.B. 301 (Police Officers Bill of Rights). There are rules that even the agencies have to follow.
                I don't think POBR covers this area. As long as you are given advance notice I don't think there is much you can do. It's just like our emails, It's a violation of state law to break into someone's account and read their emails. However, somewhere in the HPMs we are given advance notice that as a condition of employment, the Department does monitor our emails. Because we are using their system and they have given us advance notice, I don't think there is much we can do legally.

                I suspect what is being discussed is a video recorder with audio that runs all the time rather than when you flip on the reds. I believe that in such cases you can turn your wireless mike off at will.
                Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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                • #9
                  Our Comms operators have the ability to listen in to our patrol cars via the digital radios fitted. This is for safety only and is never used. Just in case, I have given up singing along to the radio whilst working one up.

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                  • #10
                    Many years ago, the communications operators at a law enforcement agency I will not name discovered that their consoles were "bugged." They all knew that anything they said on the phone or over the radio was recorded, but they didn't know that there were separate recorded channels for everything that was said AT the console, on the air or not. The city wound up paying settlements to everyone that worked there during the affected period, and the center director took early retirement. But I don't think they would have had a claim if there had been notice of the monitoring.

                    Employers can record and monitor just about everything that doesn't involve a reasonable expectation of privacy (like locker/changing rooms and rest rooms), but there usually has to be notice.
                    Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.

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                    • #11
                      At my former Agency back in the early 90's when the "new" Motorola 800megs were installed, we were advised that our Mic could be opened without any warning to the occupants of the vehicle...supposedly was to be some type of Hostage negotiation advantage in case we were ever taken Hostage in out cruiser or something... (I'd like to see the stats on the number of times THAT has happened). To my knowledge this was never used... However I have known guys that accidentally SAT on their mic for lengths of time... and in a few cases there seemed to be something erotic going on in the background (which will happen when you have full personal use ) The downside is that the COMMS knew exactly which car did it and there were a few wives/girlfriends working in there.
                      Do you realize that in about 40 years, we'll have thousands of old ladies running around with tattoos?
                      --------------------------------------------------
                      Common sense... the LEAST COMMON of all of the senses.
                      --------------------------------------------------
                      Why are hemorrhoids called "hemorrhoids" instead of "assteroids"?

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                      • #12
                        Our highway patrol (Ohio) is supposed to be getting new digital in car cameras that dispatch can monitor, video and sound. Now I dont know if that is only when the lights are on and the camera is activated, or at any time? If we have any OSP troopers on here they may be able to verify. Our agency looked at it until they saw the cost.
                        South Bloomfield Police Department
                        K9 Unit


                        American Working Dog Council

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                        • #13
                          they will get these on the OFFICER SAFETY excuse but what practical use will recorded cars have? there is nothing about them a dash cam couldnt do. and most time if you are in contact with someone your cam should be on so what other reason could there be for audio other than to see what your up too. im like the rest of the guys said, if my department didnt trust me or the other employees anymore than that i would move on.

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                          • #14
                            I just talked to one of the guys I used to work with . He was telling me that they have a microwave video uplink on order to be mounted on the helicopter, so that a Commander on the ground can see the same thing the Video cam is seeing from the air, real time. I would also suppose that it isn't unreasonable to believe it could be seen at HQ as well.
                            Do you realize that in about 40 years, we'll have thousands of old ladies running around with tattoos?
                            --------------------------------------------------
                            Common sense... the LEAST COMMON of all of the senses.
                            --------------------------------------------------
                            Why are hemorrhoids called "hemorrhoids" instead of "assteroids"?

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                            • #15
                              The best way to stop any monitoring of a vehicle mike is do what Photogrrlz just said. If everyone began singing along to a country station, I guarantee the brass would shut off the receiver. I'm sure it's just an attempt to make the officers think twice about verbally abusing their supervisors.
                              Jerry
                              "If all else fails, stop using all else!"

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