No Expectation of Privacy in Public But “Don’t Cross the Yellow Tape”
REGIONAL – Like most news agencies, RNRF receives dozens of photographs and video clips of law enforcement and fire rescue activity in our viewing area. We don’t always use them but it’s great to have so many loyal viewers submitting images they catch on camera for developing or breaking news stories. Sometimes our viewers submit tips without photos or video because they fear there may be a law that prohibits them from recording in public. But that isn’t the case in Florida, as long as you don’t get in the way.
Most law enforcement agencies in Florida understand that being video recorded in public is something that cannot be avoiding and many actually appreciate having the additional video evidence, just in case a situation takes a turn for the worse. Some law enforcement agencies, like the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, have embraced the video concept and now most of their deputies wear body cameras. Hernando and Citrus Counties have decided not to implement body cameras for various reasons. Some agencies claim it would lead to unwarranted and costly lawsuits, which would clog the courts and consume law enforcement hours – taking away from protecting the community.
But what about the average citizen? There are no special privileges that give RNRF or any news agency the right to photograph or video record First Responders, as long as you aren’t interfering with an investigation or obstructing rescue efforts. Just use common sense and don’t just walk onto a crime scene surrounded by yellow tape. Most Hernando County Sheriff’s Deputies will tell you, “There is no expectation of privacy in a public place.” Some may not like it but most understand and will just go about doing their job. A Hernando County Sheriff’s Deputy once said, “If I have nothing to hide, why do I care if you video record me?”Now, don’t confuse public audio and video recording with doing it inside a private residence or without the other person’s knowledge. Florida requires both parties in a recorded conversation to consent to the recording, according to Florida Statute 934.
So, to answer the question, yes, you can document First Responders in public and submit those images or video to RNRF – we encourage our viewers to do so.
Just like the popular catch phrase, “See Something, Say Something,” be sure utilize the camera on your mobile device whenever you “See Something” that may be news worthy and submit it to RNRF at [email protected] or send message us on Facebook at facebook.com/RNRFonline/
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