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July 17, 2007
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P1 members discuss the merits of digital audio recorders

Read: Caught on tape ... nice save!

As the technology conitnues to improve, digital audio recorders are getting smaller, lighter and more reliable. In response to a recent tip, many P1 members said these devices can make work a little easier and possibly save you in court. 

Below are excerpts from comments by PoliceOne members discussing their every day use of digital audio recorders:


““I love my digital recorder. And yes it is a life and career saver as far as complaints go, as I have had people threaten to make a complaint only to hear themselves being replayed...Talk about priceless. Nothing beats using their own words against them. I would recommend every officer get one as they are worth their weight in gold.”

“Today's technology is awesome. I did the leg work and got our department to purchase the Olympus Digital recorders and they are great. They are very sensitive and pickup as good, if not better than my in-car video microphone. This is a must for every officer on the road. Place it in your pocket and no one knows that you have it.”

“They are also great for those times when you are out of range of your video tape and it doesn't copy on the recording or cuts out. You now have backup that could possibly save you in court.”

“When working "plain-clothes" details I carry the recorder when not "wired". The small size often makes it difficult to find the record button when the recorder is in a pocket. However, when you want to record a conversation, the recorder looks enough like a cell phone that I have been able to take out the recorder, hit record, "listen to my messages" and put it back in my pocket without any questions asked.”

 “I have also used a digital recorder but in a slightly different way. I use a longer lapel microphone and hang the receiver over the cage into the rear seat. Now anything said in the car, especially in the rear seat (no right to privacy in the back seat ) is recorded. It's gotten I don't know how many perps to change their story once they hear what was recorded while I was out of the car. ”

“I have worked for an agency for 26 years and for 23 of those years carried a tape recorder. I have heard many officers say that recording devices do nothing but get the officer in trouble for misinterpreted statements and words. During my 26 years I have had several complaints filed against me for anything from excessive force to inappropriate language. In each of those complaints there has been a recording device which has shown that I have been justified in my actions. In a few of those complaints I have received letters of commendation for my Professional Behavior.”

To read all of the officer comments on this tip, click here  .

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