In New York City, it's common to see police officers idling on the side of a subway platform clutching their smartphones, like earnest eighth grader awaiting some Instagram notifications. But officers also have a habit of taking their trusty devices with them into the line of duty, and that's something the NYPD seems to now take issue with. In an order to all officers, the NYPD reminded its rank-and-file that under no circumstances should an officer take a photo or video while on duty.
“Members of the service are reminded that any video or audio created by any device, including a personal device becomes a record for legal purposes and is therefore subject to applicable evidentiary laws,” the August 7th order states, according to The Daily News. The order also reminds officers that, contrary to many of their beliefs, citizens are allowed to film them.
While a movement to equip officers with video cameras has gained steam (especially since the murder of Eric Garner, which was caught on civilian videotape), the NYPD would like officers to hold off on taking photos of any grisly scenes, drunk people on beaches, Times Square Elmo throw-downs, or just generally things they might find humorous. Once it gets recorded, it becomes evidence.
NYPD officers have a penchant for audio and video recording however, like last winter when an officer started taking video or a man who was taking video of them. The officer then proceeded to arrest the man as well.