The use of dashboard cameras (aka dashcam) and audio recorders and whether or not they should be required for police enforcement officials if such officers could be trusted to administer this evidence lawfully, and other questions has been heavily speculated about in recent years. Opponents of mandatory arrest recordings state that law enforcement should be able to conduct their jobs without being subject to public scrutiny. Supporters argue that there have been enough cases of widespread police misconduct to warrant more transparent processes.
To Release or Not to Release: Not the Discretion of the Officer
Brookfield barracks state Trooper Nicholas J. Holden admits to using his own (read: not issued by his employer) video and audio recording equipment during routine traffic stops for at least two years. There are several problems with his behavior; the first being that he did not inform those he was stopping or arresting that they were being recorded. The second is that his actions were not authorized by his department, meaning there was no protocol for how such evidence should be collected, stored, and admitted in criminal cases. Third, and perhaps most importantly, Holden selectively submitted some recordings and not others.
Consistency is Key
After Holden revealed he had been voluntarily recording his traffic stops in a case involving two brothers, prosecutors and other law enforcement officials realized he had only submitted recordings in a handful of cases that proved his retelling of events. In others, he did not disclose he had visual and audio evidence recorded and did not submit it. One can speculate why, but it goes without saying that it is unethical to release evidence in some cases and not others.
Holding Law Enforcement to the Same Standards as Citizens
State Trooper Holden is not facing any formal charges for his conduct at this time, but he has been placed on administrative leave and has been cited for behavioral issues in the past. This is another good example that we all must be vigilant in ensuring those tasked with protecting and serving the public are being held to the same standards as the rest of us.