Siri, I’m Getting Pulled Over…Can You Legally Record a Traffic Stop?
This is something I would have never thought of. My interactions with police officers have always been professional and cordial, even in those rare times when I was getting a ticket. That hasn't happened to me for a long time. Seriously.
However, over the weekend, I was hanging out with a friend of mine and we were pulled over for speeding on the way back from Lake Nasworthy. As soon as the cruiser lit up the car, my friend immediately said "Siri, I'm getting pulled over".
At that moment, I didn't ask. I did hear Siri respond to the command. After the officer was finished handing my friend a sizable citation and he finished huffing and puffing about it, I decided to ask.
"Did you tell Siri you were getting pulled over," I asked. "Yes", he answered. It was then he explained to me the principle behind the "I'm Getting Pulled Over" App. The app is supposed to keep you safer during police traffic stops by recording everything that happens. Once the shortcut is activated, it turns on "Do Not Disturb", sends out your location to designated contacts and starts recording video.
This is a pretty incredible app. My friend also informed me that this iPhone app is free and you can set it up using your I Phone's Shortcuts app. After I got home, I did a little digging. This app was developed by Arizona resident Robert Petersen to assist drivers during traffic stops.
The app is elegant in it's design. It activates the "Do Not Disturb" feature on your phone, turning off all incoming calls, messages and notifications. This is to reduce the chance that a police officer will be suddenly startled by your phone and perhaps instinctively react with aggression.
You can find out more about downloading and activating this App here: I'm Getting Pulled Over App
Having this app doesn't necessarily mean you are hostile to law enforcement. It just gives you peace of mind that you will have a document of interactions between you and any police officer during a traffic stop. Is it legal?
Multiple federal appellate courts have unanimously confirmed that the First Amendment guarantees Americans the right to record police officers in public places. Even in states that normally require two parties to consent to a recording, Federal Courts have consistently ruled that police officers have no expectation of privacy during a police stop.
It is still NOT a good idea to reach for your phone as it could be misinterpreted as reaching for a weapon by an officer. That's why the "I'm Being Pulled Over" app is a safer alternative. It is voice activated and doesn't require you to fiddle with your phone to activate it.
It is understandable in the current climate for people to fear for their safety in different circumstances. Having this app can offer some peace of mind during a very stressful situation.