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Police Officers Warned About Civilian Camera Encounters

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas police are putting out a warning to some of their own people. Members of the DPD staff are being told about an officer’s encounter with a woman who was following him with a video camera. The woman, like so many others, is part of a movement to keep an eye the police.

Now some officers say the tactics of those shooting video could put lives in jeopardy.

Police are used to having run-ins with armed bad guys. But lately they’ve also had some disturbing with law-abiding citizens, armed with cameras.

It’s not a job. Dallas resident Avi Adelman calls it a passion. “Generally I’ll go out a couple of nights a week,” he said. “I’m a crime geek. I run a police database for the public.”

Adelman took photos from recent crime and accident scenes in Dallas to post on his blog. Others also use video cameras to make online postings.

Two weeks ago, a Dallas officer reported seeing a woman following him.

DPD Sergeant Derek McCarter said, “As he was conducting traffic stops. The officer called for cover to further investigate.   The woman refused information and gave leading answers.”

It turned out the woman was associated with Cop Block, a group that describes itself as being dedicated to police accountability.

Dallas Police Association President Ron Pinkston wants citizens to stop taping because he worries someone will get hurt. “It’s creating a major officer safety issue,” he said. “We don’t know who it is pulling behind us. We don’t know they’re there to videotape, they might be part of… if that guy has has just done a kidnapping they could be part of the kidnapping. You don’t know.”

An email was sent to some officers alerting them that citizens “have the right to film in public.”

Adelman is a DPD volunteer, but as his photos show, he’s had officers try to stop him from recording. He believes police that do may have something to hide. “It’s all garbage. The ones who get mad they simply do want you to be there when something happens,” he alleged.

Officials with the police association say they support squad car dashboard cameras and the department’s plans to buy body cams. They believe those are enough eyes watching their every move and are asking citizens to put their cameras away.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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