Recording a police officer is illegal, right? Not anymore. According to an amended Illinois law 720 ILCS 5/14-1, citizens now have the right to record any police officer without their consent. Apparently this amendment is a step in a good direction, however there are some areas that citizens need to be aware of before they decide to video tape that traffic stop.
One of the exceptions to the legality of recording a police interaction is called the surreptitious exception. This means you may not secretly record the interaction. The issue with this exception is that typically if someone is aware you are recording them, they will probably change their behavior.
The other exception is called the reasonable expectation of privacy. This is hard to prove for the simple reason that it is very hard to imagine a police officer would expect privacy during any interactions with a citizen.
One of the steps backwards with this amendment is that it allows for officials to be able to eavesdrop on private conversations and use them without a warrant. One of the steps forward is citizens who are found guilty of recording a police officer will now have less of a penalty.
Before you decide to record any police interaction under this newly amended law, make sure you are aware exactly what your rights are and what the penalties may be. This will save you from being the guinea pig in legal action that has not yet come under the scrutiny of the courts.