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  • Tape recording conversations in public.

    My question is regarding weither it's legal to record a conversation in public while working private security. I work on the Naval Bases in San Diego county and about daily will have a driver pull their vehicle to the side to give them time to find there Military I.D., drivers license, insurance or registration. Well about 1 out of 50 people will get a little off topic and as you know wanna tell you how they feel about what your doing (ex. delaying them, messing with them, etc). Well I already have a digital recorder with an attached microphone that you can place anywhere on the uniform.

    So to ask the question, can a private Security officer/guard record a conversation with a person with a recorder? and if we are legally allowed too, do I have to advise them that the conversation is being recorded or not?

    Thanks for any advice and help in advance...

  • #2
    I don't know what California law is but in Arizona as long as one person knows the conversation is being recorded it's legal.

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    • #3
      I don't know a ton about privacy laws, but from what I understand, if you are in an area where there is no expectation of privacy, then you can record away, with or without anyone's knowledge.
      I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

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      • #4
        The laws may be different for LE than the general public but as stated above, there is no expectation of privacy in public or public areas unless of course you are required to speak confidential info that is restricted to certain clearance personnel.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MCSD
          My question is regarding weither it's legal to record a conversation in public while working private security. I work on the Naval Bases in San Diego county and about daily will have a driver pull their vehicle to the side to give them time to find there Military I.D., drivers license, insurance or registration. Well about 1 out of 50 people will get a little off topic and as you know wanna tell you how they feel about what your doing (ex. delaying them, messing with them, etc). Well I already have a digital recorder with an attached microphone that you can place anywhere on the uniform.

          So to ask the question, can a private Security officer/guard record a conversation with a person with a recorder? and if we are legally allowed too, do I have to advise them that the conversation is being recorded or not?

          Thanks for any advice and help in advance...
          First thing you need to do is actually consider if your employer will allow this?

          Second, check the states laws on this topic. Some states, only one person needs to know and that one person can be you...catch all. I don't see why you would need one though? I would be curious as to your purpose, etc. Most bases have CCTV at the gates and I am sure you are not alone out there either?
          "An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded."

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          • #6
            If you are working on a naval base, California law probably doesn't mean diddly. You had better be getting a definitive answer from your chain of command. If you are recording conversations on a military base and are not supposed to be doing so, you will be getting to know some men in dark suits pretty quickly, and you won't be posting the outcome here any time soon.
            Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

            I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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            • #7
              For California, I believe you will find the answer here:

              http://info.sen.ca.gov/cgi-bin/waisg...ction=retrieve

              Ifv you need further interpretations of these sections, go to your nearest law library and take a look at Bell's Book on Bugging.
              Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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              • #8
                The best person to ask would be your supervisor. I'm not quite sure if your are in the navy, or just work as a civilian, but legal or not, anything you do needs to be cleared by them.

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                • #9
                  Having served in CA and on a military base I carried a tape recorder whenever I was on duty. To put it in context if someone can video tape the police conducting their duties with a cell phone, camera, whatever you can too. Public places are that, public and there is no reasonable expectation to privacy. Especially on a military base you being law enforcement you have the authority to "ensure the safety and well-being of the installation, personnel, and their family members." (I've always like that line.)

                  I had few problems with senior military members who thought that they shouldn't be receiving a citation from someone half their age, five ranks lower than them and obviously by someone who was using his authority to get revenge on upper echelon military members. Of course that nifty tape recorder came in handy in proving that I was nothing but a professional and treated everyone with respect that was granted to them by their rank.

                  Generally I used the tape recorder for my own protection against complaints and situations that got a little hairy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MCSD
                    My question is regarding weither it's legal to record a conversation in public while working private security. I work on the Naval Bases in San Diego county and about daily will have a driver pull their vehicle to the side to give them time to find there Military I.D., drivers license, insurance or registration. Well about 1 out of 50 people will get a little off topic and as you know wanna tell you how they feel about what your doing (ex. delaying them, messing with them, etc). Well I already have a digital recorder with an attached microphone that you can place anywhere on the uniform.

                    So to ask the question, can a private Security officer/guard record a conversation with a person with a recorder? and if we are legally allowed too, do I have to advise them that the conversation is being recorded or not?

                    Thanks for any advice and help in advance...
                    Why would you want to record them in the first place? It's my understanding that it falls the same as a telephone conversation. Unless the party is informed they're being recorded, it's illegal. Now, being an open area, that could be different, but I don't think so.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Wow, from a few responses it seems you guys are kinda mad I may wanna record conversations that happen at our gate entrances.

                      A background on what influenced my question and wanting to carry a recorder with me. First off, I already have a recorder with a connecting microphone which can be placed on the collar which will hopefully record a clearer conversation without having to pull out the recorder.

                      For those who watch those police videos that are repeated 100 times, you may recall a state trooper who pulled over a vehicle (not sure why). The officer issued the driver a citation and the officer told the driver the amount of the fund and the driver freaked out cursing and actually made his vehicle move from left to right more then once because he was moving around so much. The driver signed the citation then tossed the cite out of the window and the officer told the driver if he didn't pick up the cite he would cite him for littering.

                      Well I had the same thing happen recently but, I wasn't and can't issue citations. I was simply trying to help resolve a problem of a military dependent who believe she left her I.D. on base and wanted to go back on base to get it. We'll she didn't have a driver's license either. She made about 10 threats and I'll leave it at that.

                      I know of a few DOD Police and MA's who carry voice recorders so I'll speak to them about it. BTW the purpose isn't to record conversations with everyone. It's to record conversations with those who may file a report and state that they were 'ANGELS' the whole time and that I was just so rude, some of you may know what I mean...

                      Thanks to those who provided information regarding my question.
                      Last edited by MCSD; 04-24-2007, 07:47 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Got an answer so this topic can be ended...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MCSD
                          Wow, from a few responses it seems you guys are kinda mad I may wanna record conversations that happen at our gate entrances.

                          A background on what influenced my question and wanting to carry a recorder with me. First off, I already have a recorder with a connecting microphone which can be placed on the collar which will hopefully record a clearer conversation without having to pull out the recorder.

                          For those who watch those police videos that are repeated 100 times, you may recall a state trooper who pulled over a vehicle (not sure why). The officer issued the driver a citation and the officer told the driver the amount of the fund and the driver freaked out cursing and actually made his vehicle move from left to right more then once because he was moving around so much. The driver signed the citation then tossed the cite out of the window and the officer told the driver if he didn't pick up the cite he would cite him for littering.

                          Well I had the same thing happen recently but, I wasn't and can't issue citations. I was simply trying to help resolve a problem of a military dependent who believe she left her I.D. on base and wanted to go back on base to get it. We'll she didn't have a driver's license either. She made about 10 threats and I'll leave it at that.

                          I know of a few DOD Police and MA's who carry voice recorders so I'll speak to them about it. BTW the purpose isn't to record conversations with everyone. It's to record conversations with those who may file a report and state that they were 'ANGELS' the whole time and that I was just so rude, some of you may know what I mean...

                          Thanks to those who provided information regarding my question.
                          lol, great clip that was.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            taking a shot in the dark!!!!

                            If it is out in public, where a person has no reason for privacy you can do it. I can take a picture of you vehicle if it is at the curb. The papar***i can take pictures of Celebes in the street. i would assume it is the same for voice as long as it is in the open or the person doesn't have a reasonable expectation of privacy..............But as I said, I’m taking a shot in the dark!!!!!
                            live everyday as if it your last...because one day it will be

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by aftermath
                              Why would you want to record them in the first place? It's my understanding that it falls the same as a telephone conversation. Unless the party is informed they're being recorded, it's illegal. Now, being an open area, that could be different, but I don't think so.
                              How could that be.......a telephone conversation goes the way of wiretapping, etc but in a public place you have no expectation of privacy for an audio or video recording. You can be audio recorded by someone with a recorder or recorded on security camera footage. Do you really think when people go to a shopping mall or store they can see all the cameras recording them or they are all told they are being recorded? Nope.... just like when you are in public the news reporters, joe citizen with a camcorder, etc can legally tape anything they want (except illegal activities such as bathroom, upskirt privacy type issues).

                              I carry a digital recorder for all my stops. It has come in handy when somebody complains and then I get to play the recording for the Sgt. and the person complaining. Complaint solved.

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