Public Safety Statement
There's nothing a chief or department administrator dislikes more than a "good" cop who adheres to the law and department policies rather than the directives of a tyrannical leader. However, these good cops are what every agency needs. What happens, though, when you cross the thin blue line (which resides at the chiefs office) and find yourself on the chief's bad side?
It doesn't mean arresting your supervisor when they instruct you to issue a ticket for a minor offense, essentially stripping away your discretion. It means politely requesting these instructions in writing, ensuring you understand what is required. When you do this, you might find that administrators take a second look and possibly reconsider their unlawful orders.
You may also know me as a nuisance; your department leaders have probably labeled me as such. When I film a traffic stop, it's to observe your trained behavior, tell a story, and share it with the public. In the case of Port Orange, they threatened to arrest me while my wife was filming, which initiated my journey into recording police interactions. After that incident, they were in my backyard taking pictures, and ultimately, they brought charges against me for an unrelated incident where I needed medical assistance.
Since that incident with your department in October and even before, you may have noticed a departure of officers from your department. Some officers were accused of leaking information, leading to several investigations. Those officers who complied with the law and the investigation faced harassment and intimidation, with one officer being specifically questioned about leaking information.
Officers often have nowhere to turn when they witness wrongdoing due to the aforementioned repercussions. So, where can you go? If the administration or other officers aren't listening, your best recourse is to email firstname.lastname@example.org. I understand that my videos sometimes cast officers in a negative light, but that's a consequence of their own actions. I also share positive incidents, even involving the Port Orange police, the same ones who initially clashed with me. I recently received an apology and a handshake from the Port Orange police chief and the officer who threatened to arrest me, which made some mends to the issues I have with them.
I know you do not have a voice while working, and I don't mind being that voice for you. To protect your identity, I am recognized as bona fide media, making a living from this and protected by Florida shield laws. This is where my sources remain anonymous, and I'm not obligated to disclose any of them. I will never burn a source as they are so valuable to journalism.
However, if you send confidential information or something in violation of the law, there could be consequences for disclosing it. I declined to accept jail cell footage of a child inside, as someone claimed they could obtain it. But if there are other documented ways to access information outside of a logged computer, those methods can't be traced, send it, but make sure you're not on a tracked software.
Do not access ARS and then provide case numbers, as that can be tracked. Don't forward emails directly; instead, note the date and time if they're sent to multiple people. Never use tag readers, Forcewatch, etc., to provide information. Vague, non-date-identifiable information is preferred. Remember, everything is tracked.
You will continue to witness officers leaving the department, and I understand that you're stretched thin, working endless overtime in what often seems like a hostile environment. The more we can document, the brighter the future will be. So hang in there.
You can contact me at Jamesmadisonaudits@gmail.com.