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officer discretion vs. technology

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  • officer discretion vs. technology

    I'm currently trying to get into the NY State Police, but this post is meant as a general one, unless you happen to know specifics for NYSP. Having said that, any insight you are willing to share would be helpful.

    I understand that police can decide basically how to take care of situations at their discretion. However, for traffic stops, I become confused. How can an officer that has just pulled someone over for a traffic infraction use their own judgement when the offense is caught on tape and mic?
    It's my understanding that supervisors can watch these tapes at any time and many times they are used to defend officers against BS charges of misconduct. Do officers simply not turn on the "dash-cams" for "simple" stops or do their superiors just not watch them unless there is a concern? It seems as though the superiors would want everything taped and review those tapes whenever they wanted. If this was the case, though, wouldn't the officer be in some sort of trouble being that they failed to address, say, a moving violation? What exactly are the parameters of discretion on traffic stops? A trooper I know once told me that "technically" they were not supposed to be handing out warnings.

    Thanks
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal labotomy!

  • #2
    The violation is not always on the camera unless you are following someone and consciously turn on the camera to video tape the way they are driving.... My camera only went on for the stop itself and I still had my powers to warn and admonish....

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    • #3
      That's definately good to hear. Thanks for your responses, I appreciate them. Would it be safe to say, then, that generally you are using the camera more when you want to (or the situation warrants it) and that your supervisors are ok with warnings, etc? That would be a relief to know! Just knowing I was watched 24/7 would make me say something idiotic, I know it.
      I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal labotomy!

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      • #4
        Not all cars have camera's in them anyway.... The regular patrol cars didn't have them, only the Highway cars do.... I can't speak for Orange County but it's pretty much the case with NYPD, NCPD and SCPD... Not too sure on NYS either...

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        • #5
          Not all of our cars have cameras, mine doesn't for example. Of those that do, most of them actually, the camera is tied into the blue lights so that it is automatically enacted when the blues come on. The trooper can manually activate it at any time however ... however usually when activated ... the initial violation is history and it's the stop and subsequent actions that get recorded. The camera's primary function is not to document every violation, it's to serve as the silent, but effective witness should something go sour ... and thus it's presence acts as a great deterrent to anyone contemplating doing harm to the officer. There are also many cases of hit and run vehicles being identified by the camera after an officer was struck. They do record audio as well as video, so they do have a value in the investigation of complaints.

          Oh yeah, after reading the post below ... realized I left that out. Unless specifically required or excluded by statute, we have the same three options generally. Warn, summons, or arrest. Some violations are simply summons or warning cases, some require arrest.
          Last edited by tbear853; 10-05-2005, 03:55 PM.
          Adios amigos.

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          • #6
            There are three types of enforcement that we can use during a traffic stop.... verbal warning, written warning, or arrest (citation). A supervisor cannot tell you to write tickets but can pressure you to get your numbers up. At my dept the cameras run the entire shift. It has saved me numerous times from citizens complaints of my speed. It would be impossible for our supervisors to watch every minute of every tape to babysit us, but it is an option if they want to black ball you.

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            • #7
              ok, this makes a lot more sense now
              I think I'd be running the cam a lot if it were up to me. CYA tactics!

              Thanks again, you guys provided a lot of information I didn't know.
              I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal labotomy!

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              • #8
                I think we spoke before I entered the acdemy.

                The car I am in now has a camera but most of the cars don't (Finishing up FTO phase now). I believe all the thruway cars have cameras though. The camera is on at all times and records whenever you turn the lights on our if you manually hit the record button. The mic must be turned on at all traffic stops...

                A SGT watches every tape regardless of if a complaint has been made, so if you are in a car with a camera you are under more scruitny...

                You still have discretion whether there is a camera or not!
                Can you say DYNASTY? Go Patriots!

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                • #9
                  I would be horrified not to have discretion, One place I worked on a Friday night I would make thirty second traffic stops, I would dash up, identify myself advise them what they did, see that they were not the drunk I was looking for, and run back to the squad and head for the next car screwing up. Now we have racial profile reporting, so all stops get everybody run, I write more tickets now to....
                  Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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                  • #10
                    In many jurisdictions the purpose of the camera is to record the traffic stop and prevent false allegations from being made against the officer. I was shown the video of an officer making a traffic stop for speeding only to have the motorist make a sexual allegation against the officer. When the tape was played for the Internal affairs investigators the only person getting arrested was the motorist for filing a false report. It is also a great tool in court when the motorist tells the judge, that you cursed at them and brutualized them and then you say "let's go to the video tape"

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wannabeenytrp
                      I think we spoke before I entered the acdemy.

                      The car I am in now has a camera but most of the cars don't (Finishing up FTO phase now). I believe all the thruway cars have cameras though. The camera is on at all times and records whenever you turn the lights on our if you manually hit the record button. The mic must be turned on at all traffic stops...

                      A SGT watches every tape regardless of if a complaint has been made, so if you are in a car with a camera you are under more scruitny...

                      You still have discretion whether there is a camera or not!
                      I find it very hard to believe that a Sgt. watches every tape from every camera. I think you're being bull****ted...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by EMTFirefighter
                        I find it very hard to believe that a Sgt. watches every tape from every camera. I think you're being bull****ted...
                        Our station has only 1 vehicle with a camera. At the end of every month the Sgt sits in front of the TV and plays the tapes. I see him do this You may go a couple of days without a V+T stop if you are busy with complaint work, and when you make a traffic stop the interaction with the driver may only take a minute or often less. The rest of the tape is forwarded...
                        Last edited by wannabeenytrp; 10-19-2005, 07:21 PM.
                        Can you say DYNASTY? Go Patriots!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by wannabeenytrp
                          Our station has only 1 vehicle with a camera. At the end of every month the Sgt sits in front of the TV and plays the tapes. I see him do this You may go a couple of days without a V+T stop if you are busy with complaint work, and when you make a traffic stop the interaction with the driver may only take a minute or often less. The rest of the tape is forwarded...
                          Yet another reason I never want to be a Trooper. I don't work well with micromanagers.

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