Playing music in the background of police videos By:


Chances are, at some point in your career, you’re going to end up in court. Between pursuits, the use of force, and everything in between, it’s inevitable. Whether you land in court for a criminal case or a civil suit, chances are the video from your mobile video recorder will be played for the judge and jury.

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Will your recording have a soundtrack? If so, what does that soundtrack say about you as a person and as a police officer?

If you listen to music while on duty, that music will be captured on video. Think carefully about a song’s lyrics before adding it to your on-duty playlist. Modern music can be profane, sexist and racist. But don’t think that playing oldies or even country music is safe. References to drinking and drugs are common themes across many genres. So are derogatory terms and references to violence. Also, keep in mind that if you sing along, your award-winning performance may be played in court one day.

As you consider all this, first make sure your agency permits you to play music while on duty. If so, you might want to make a special playlist that doesn’t contain questionable language or references. Turn all music off or down while talking on the patrol radio, when conducting traffic stops, during other public contacts, or anytime you activate vehicle or body-worn cameras.

Finally, as you screen your tunes for inappropriate content, hear the music through the ears of a judge or jury. What will they think of you when they hear the music you choose to play while on duty? How will the lyrics reflect on you and your agency?

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Until next time, Gordon Graham signing off.

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