Shortly after the New York branch of the American Civil Liberties Union created an app called Stop and Frisk Watch, in response to the law enforcement tactic of the same name, the ACLU branch in New Jersey has created a Police Tape app.

It does exactly what it says on the box: records audio and, if you choose, video, of an encounter. The app interface disappears when in action so that it can't be switched off by anyone who happens to glance at the phone and the recordings are stored on the phone in a place where it would take a "tech-savvy" officer to find them and delete them. Furthermore, the recordings can be automatically uploaded to secure ACLU-NJ servers so that police can't delete them later. The app also apprises users of their rights when in their cars, on the street, when at home, and when being arrested.

Whether or not you agree with the app, it's kind of crazy that we've gotten to a point where everybody feels they have to make recordings of everybody else and store them in Iron Mountain just to make sure that justice prevails. But at least this way you won't have to wear a helmet-cam. The app is available now for Android phones, with an iPhone version coming shortly. Scroll down to watch a rather strange ACLU-NJ video on how it works.



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  • 96 Comments
      montegod7ss
      • 3 Years Ago
      I record some day to day encounters at work just for CYA reasons, but also any encounters with LEOs and those clowns at TSA. Cloud based video streaming is where this will end up, now that cell phone data rates are beginning to be fast enough for that to be possible. What SD card, officer?
      jrbatt31
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is aimed at a very, very small segment of law enforcement who happen to hide behind a badge. I have zero problems with law enforcement. I had more than 20 years in Public Safety and in that time I have met an overwhelming number of men and women who do go above and beyond to help and serve the public every day. Conversely, I had met a few that should not have been hired in the first place and some who wound up leaving in cuffs themselves. The one time I ever received a speeding ticket I actually wrote to the Deputy's Command to commend him on his crisp appearence, demeanor and professionalism. The bottom line here is that in a case of He said vs the cop said, the cop usually wins. Nothing like hearing or seeing the entire encounter and have someone else decide.
      wesnwendy
      • 3 Years Ago
      "...it's kind of crazy that we've gotten to a point where everybody feels they have to make recordings of everybody else and store them ..." WTF, you are saying this of people who are tired of being abused by a system that cares only about the revenues they collect from fines? The same system that is putting cameras up all over our city streets and monitoring our every move and gesture, with facial recognition be added so a computer can detect even the slightest tick that may imply criminal activity? Also, why are you not speaking of every cop car having cameras already on them recording every stop? But let the people do the recording of them and 'kind of crazy that we've gotten to a point where everybody feels they have to make recordings of everybody else and store them'!! Yea, right, batshit crazy... that's what you get when you are abused by the people WE hire to PROTECT AND SERVE and the WE ELECT TO REPRESENT US!!
        Anthony Douthat
        • 3 Years Ago
        @wesnwendy
        There are alot of reason police cars have cameras. As evidence in a trial, to document traffic stops, plus catch things the cop doesn't. Like if they pull someone over and someone tosses something out the window they didn't see. The camera will have caught it. Also they make sure both the cop isn't doing something wrong, and the person being stopped doesn't do something wrong. I think alot of the reason they put cameras in the car was for "transparency". Cops where constantly being accused and sued for doing bad stuff during traffic stops. Some of which did happen, but alot of which didn't happen. And I'm sure after the cameras when in a few people still made those claims until they figured out there was a camera in the car. I always wanted to be a cop growing up, but now I'm glad I didn't. Not because of the danger, but because of peoples total lack of respect for officers. You go to work, work a hard shift for not that much money. Risk getting killed every day, get yelled at by people who break the law. Accused of bulling, or just being a jerk. Risk getting sued, sometimes I think the ONLY people that deserve to go on strike are police officers. Let the country see what it would be like with out the "Evil police" for a few days. But unlike most people that work. Police are forbidden to go on strike, even for there right to just ALITTLE respect.
          Jonathan Wayne
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Anthony Douthat
          Hard to get respect when you sit on the side of the road and give people seatbelt tickets and speeding tickets for going 5 over while you blast down the road at 20-30mph over the speed limit all the time. Not to mention the god complex attitude a lot of officers have. You think people's attitudes towards police officers just came about out of thin air? They don't care if they get sued, they don't personally get sued, the county does and the taxpayers pay for the suit and often they still keep their jobs and benefits.
          Travisty
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Anthony Douthat
          You mean like the helmet cam video of the police stopping the biker that came out the other day? The one where the dashboard cam "wasn't turned on" and so if the motorcyclist hadn't had his camera on it would have just been his word against the cops?
          LW
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Anthony Douthat
          how can the po-po's camera promote transparency when it gets used as evidence only when it helps them, while at other times the "it wasn't turned on" excuse comes up. As for the false accusation on the po-lease, have you ever seen any trails? The po-po's testimony is always treated as fact by the jury, and no matter what witness or defendent says, if it is not the same as boss hogg's, it is viewed as a lie and discarded.
          Latinthx
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Anthony Douthat
          you cant get respect you havent given or earned. wearing a badge and carrying a gun does not earn you instant respect. When you look down on the people that pay your salary, and have given you the privilige to carry a gun and wear a badge, and intrusted you to look after their citizens, does not earn you automatic respect. Cops are rude, arrogant, jaded, racist, and bigoted officials, thats all. Its why there is so much resentment from society towards them, and probably always will. in plain english - they suck.
      Loreic
      • 3 Years Ago
      The real problem is not being addressed by Media and the authorities and that is police brutalitiy and abuse of powers with out these constant stop and your guilty so i need to frisk you laws this app would have no meaning. So Public officials, you should be proud you have caused an app to be made to curtail your abuses i hope you all get what you deserve if you abuse the public you should be tied down and abused your self.
      Travisty
      • 3 Years Ago
      THIS is why it's necessary: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/cop-pulls-over-motorcyclist-in-order-to-confiscate-his-helmet-cam-arrests-him-when-he-objects/ "Ironically, the department says no dash cam video exists from Westbrook’s squad car." All a camera does is show the truth of what happened. It's not partial, it doesn't take one side or the other, it's just the truth. If the cop's dashboard camera had been rolling in the above link, it would have shown the *exact* same thing as the rider's helmet cam. We need apps like this for when the dashboard cam gets "magically" turned off for some reason...
      Shinkaze
      • 3 Years Ago
      Little brother fights back
      reticulum9
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is an excellent idea, one whose time has come! Police need to be videotaped constantly, just as all government needs to be scrutinized and be held accountable for its actions. If we really live in a free country, no one should have any objections to that. Including the out-of-control Long Beach California police.
      GasMan
      • 3 Years Ago
      Remember the big goofy kid in middle school who used to pick on the nerdy kid? That is the guy who becomes a cop. Add in police academy training that emphasizes establishing authority and being in control and you end up with the abusive cops we see in the videos. The one common thread is that the cop believes HE IS THE LAW instead of HE IS THE ENFORCER OF THE LAW. That is why they don't bother to learn what the law really is and the rights of citizens. This app is absolutely needed. Eventually cellphone video will create a counter-balance to police intimidation.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @GasMan
        [blocked]
      evannever
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nice work. This might just shed some more light on those who abuse power. Everybody hates the ACLU until it's your civil liberties that are being violated.
      nothere227
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have an app that's perfectly free, legal, and doesn't piss cops off. It's called not speeding and obeying the law. Not terribly hard to do, but for some people ...
        Koz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @nothere227
        Aren't you paying attention. you don't have to do anything to be stopped by the police. They make things up as they go. Why you stopping me officer, your car fit a discription of a stolen car; this is all they need and your stopped. Wake up America, you are losing your battle.
        LW
        • 3 Years Ago
        @nothere227
        Do you have an app that also turns a black or latino's face into a white one?
          wrathster
          • 3 Years Ago
          @LW
          Sorry you got to play that race card some where else,I get pulled for" what you doing out at this time of the night", 45 in a 45 ,doing 5 over, speed was up and down, exhaust too loud ,even tho he didnt even use a machine to see how loud it was,said it was too loud to him and Im white.So instead of turning white, maybe try turning into a celeb, they seem to have better luck or even one better turn into a Cop ,everyone knows the law doesnt apply to them.
          lifehub
          • 3 Years Ago
          @LW
          ??
      Mike
      • 3 Years Ago
      While I agree that abuse should be kept in check, I think the media has very wrongly portrayed law enforcement as violating citizens rights because of a few bad apples. The ACLU is against stereotypes and now they have stereotyped police officers, who this country needs more than ever. While this app shouldn't affect the majority of law enforcement in this country who do their jobs in a professional manner and do a good job keeping thugs, punks, hoodlums, and even standard bad drivers in check, the fact that the media and the ACLU are making them out to be evil and abusive in power is wrong. Make examples of those that wrongly arrest or unprofessionally deal with citizens, but don't use means to try to discourage the police from doing their job.
        GasMan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike
        3 Kinds of Cops. 1. Nice people and fine citizens 2. Jaded pragmatists who sometimes take short cuts 3. Vindictive a$$-hats on a power binge #1 types don't last long. They wash out or become #2s. #3s are just born that way. If the system supported the good ones and weeded out the bad ones then people would not feel the need for such an app.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike
        [blocked]
        Hazdaz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike
        I don't see anywhere that they are saying that ALL cops are "bad". Far from it actually. If you are projecting that conclusion, maybe its YOU that has an issue. The problem is though that even ONE bad cop can mess up a whole department's image and if they can't clean up their own affairs, it can become a big deal for the public as a whole because the potential for abuse of power can be HUGE.
        Erik
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike
        Any cop who doesn't *actively* report other cops when they commit bad actions is a 'bad apple'. Period.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike
        [blocked]
        Alex G
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike
        As long as police have a monopoly on violence there are no "good apples." Police are no good.
        Alex G
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike
        As long as police have a monopoly on violence there are no "good apples." Police are no good.
      AL-Concetta
      • 3 Years Ago
      That;s what happens when you get a few BAD cops who think they are god when they put on that badge makes the good cops look bad. and the BPA does not do the good cops any favor by defending bad cops. there is no reason a law-abiding citizin should fear a polce officer but thats what it has come down to. Maybe the top brass needs to go back to school.
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