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Recommended Answers to Police Officers' Commonly Asked Questions 

Here is a list questions that police officers or other public officials typically ask along with our suggested answers. We certainly don’t claim that this is a comprehensive list. If there are other commonly asked questions, please send them to us along with your suggested answer so that we can add them to the list. Send your questions to Thank you!

Rights and Identification


Exercising First Amendment Rights

Q: "What are you doing here?"

A: "I am exercising my First Amendment right to record and observe public activities."


Documentation Purpose

Q: "Why are you recording?"

A: "I am documenting and observing public officials in the performance of their duties for transparency and accountability."


Right to Anonymity

Q: "Do you have any identification on you?"

A: "I choose to remain anonymous, but I am not engaged in any illegal activity."


Presence in Public Spaces

Q: "What is your purpose for being in this area?"

A: "I am in a public space, exercising my right to be present and document public activities."


Request for Personal Information

Q: "Can you provide your name and address?"

A: "I prefer to remain anonymous. Am I free to go?"


Filming and Legal Compliance

Filming without a Permit

Q: "Do you have a permit to film here?"

A: "I do not need a permit to film in a public space. It is my First Amendment right."


Privacy Concerns

Q: "Do you understand that you may be violating privacy laws?"

A: "I am in a public space where there is no expectation of privacy. I am not violating any privacy laws."


Filming in Restricted Areas

Q: "Have you been filming any restricted areas?"

A: "I am filming from a publicly accessible area. I have a right to film anything I can see from this publicly accessible area."


Legal Awareness

Q: "Are you aware of the laws regarding public filming in this jurisdiction?"

A: "Yes, I am aware of my rights to film in public spaces. I am not breaking any laws."


Filming Private Citizens

Q: "You have no right to film private citizens in public."

A: "I can film whatever I can see from publicly accessible areas."


Conduct and Intention

Non-Interference with Law Enforcement

Q: "Are you aware that you are interfering with our investigation?"

A: "I am not interfering; I am maintaining a safe distance and not obstructing your work."


Observing Law Enforcement

Q: "Why are you not cooperating with our instructions?"

A: "I am acting within my rights and not violating any laws. I will comply if given lawful orders."


Journalistic Affiliation

Q: "Are you affiliated with any news organization?"

A: "I am an independent journalist exercising my First Amendment rights."


Intentions in Recording

Q: "Can you explain your intentions in recording law enforcement activities?"

A: "I am documenting the actions of public officials in the course of their duties in order to ensure transparency and accountability in the public interest."


Response to Law Enforcement Requests

Q: "Can you step back and give us some space?"

A: "If I am in any way interfering with you, and if there is a lawful order to do so, I will comply. Otherwise, I am maintaining a reasonable distance."


Awareness of Threats

Q: "Are you aware of any suspicious activity in the area?"

A: "I am here to observe and document public activities, not to report on suspicions."


Carrying Weapons

Q: "Do you have any weapons on you?"

A: "I do not consent to searches. Whether or not I am carrying any weapons is none of your business unless you have reasonable suspicion to believe that I am armed and have committed, am committing, or am about to commit a crime."


Provoking Law Enforcement

Q: "Are you intentionally trying to provoke a response from law enforcement?"

A: "No, I am exercising my rights peacefully and lawfully. I seek only to document public activities."


Understanding of Potential Consequences

Q: "Do you understand the potential consequences of your actions?"

A: "I am aware of my rights and responsibilities. If you suspect I am breaking any laws, please inform me of them."


Recording Specific Incidents

Q: "What is your purpose in recording this particular incident?"

A: "I am here to document and observe the actions of public officials to ensure transparency and accountability."

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