First Amendment Audits and How to Respond

Recently there have been instances popping up all over social media regarding “First Amendment Audits” of law enforcement and government buildings and practices.  The entire focus of these audits is to judge the proper (or often improper) response of law enforcement to the presence of a cameraman.  The hopes of some auditors is to have a poor contact with law enforcement, resulting in a violation of their 4th Amendment rights and or a bad arrest.  This obviously places the officer and agency in line for civil damages and embarrassing online videos. This also leads to interesting and valuable training opportunities!

The question is, when and how should we act?

A review of many of the posted audit videos shows us, extremely well trained and professional law enforcement officers acting what I can only describe as “childish” when confronted with an audit and a camera.  From us blocking their view, following them, challenging them for ID, or even worse, pulling out our own cell phone and taking pictures and video of them.  What is the point?  The videos are never taken well by the public audience, and the comments; I won’t even mention them.

I know, some of you may be saying “But terrorists, they scout locations and police stations are a target.”  I agree.  They certainly do.  When was the last time you found a terrorist standing in wide open view, in public, blatantly videotaping a public building with obvious disregard for the police driving around?  Probably never.  If they were going to scout a location, they would do it and you likely would never know.

Honestly, as a law enforcement professional for the past twenty years, I have seen my share of video cameras, and baiting of law enforcement.  At no time have I felt a threat when someone with a camera was filming me, my police station, or anything to do with us as law enforcement.  Remember, the audits are carefully planned to remain in a place that they can legally be, and there is no law about recording activity or buildings from a public place.  They are well within their rights to do so, and from my experience, the best response to an audit roaming around your police station public areas is to ignore them.  They eventually lose interest and move on to somewhere they can make headlines.

Consider the audits as a reminder that we do serve the public, and in such, we should adjust our policing and our methods to suit the situation. We shouldn’t be carrying heavy stones over glass bridges as law enforcement.

Posted in

Sergeant Ryan Brett

Sergeant Ryan Brett is the Vice President of CALRO and works for the Corona Police Department in Riverside County, California.


  1. Ashley Wilkes on January 4, 2022 at 11:54 am

    Sergeant Ryan Brett: I appreciate your relatively favorable position on the rights of constitutional Auditors. You state that the best way to handle them is to ignore them until they walk away. I think a better way would be to cordially engage the auditor and this of course would be easier with the auditors who have the intent to constructively change things that are wrong with the policing and justice system. But it could still be done with “antagonizers”.

    Since the murder of Fernando Castile’s in 2016 in Falcon Heights Minnesota I have watched over 7000 audits – done screen recordings of them all and wrote extensive commentary on every audit. No one else that I know of has ever done this and it is given me a unique insight into the spectrum of approaches by auditors to recording LEO behavior from public places.

    It is also giving me unique insight into the emphasis of police training across the country to train cadets in the worst case scenarios. Actually programming them to take that approach. Law enforcement will often create the worst case scenarios. It has also given some insight into why an individual would desire to go into law enforcement. Reasons not at all monolithic I must be fair to add.

    Truth be told, there is no “auditing community.” There are many many hundreds constitutional auditors out doing their own thing. Some of them have the agenda of knowing all the laws related to auditing, their constitutional rights and are committed to changing that is in so many ways a flawed system. Some of the constitutional auditors are out to bait and agitate law-enforcement and other government agencies for the sole purpose of creating a large subscriberships and hundreds of thousands of clicks so they can make $15-$30,000 a month. And then there is every form of auditing style on the spectrum between the two.

    I know many constitutional auditors and have presented them with the idea of creating an auditors certification program in which they would have to pass certain standards in many categories to become certified.

    There is about a 60/40 split against a certification process for constitutional auditors. Which isn’t bad but honestly I wish it was higher. I’m doing extensive research on how an auditors’ certification protocol could be created. What would be the best structure? Who would be in charge? Should there be dues by those certified to pay and the refund for filing suits against abusive cops and government agencies? How much of an effect will it have on reducing the number of auditors from facilitating an agenda to agitate and bait cops and government agency officials?

    I’m throwing this proposal out in this discussion because there are so many people with so much input with respect to constitutional auditing and policing accountability.

    It is true that there are many George Floyd’s and Kim Potter cases going on around the country but the state of Minnesota is one of the few states that has been actually successful in holding the cops accountable for their atrocious behavior.

    I got ran into a metal fence by a cop on a bicycle during the George Floyd protest on E. Lee St. in Minneapolis near Cup foods where why was murdered by Derek Chauvin. I was maced in the eyes and face, broke two vertebrae in my back, had have 22 pins and a brace up my shin because my right foot/ankle was basically pulverized. The cop who did this also stole my cell phone which I was using to record the action. I will never completely recover from the injuries and the cop that brutalized me will never be caught, much less held accountable.

    It’s something I will have to live with for the rest of my life but I’m not dwelling on it, instead, I am working hard to see if I can create create a Constitutional Auditors certification program.

    I’m interested in what some of the commentators here think of this idea.

    • Ashley Wilkes on January 4, 2022 at 12:07 pm

      Please forgive the typos in my comment. I thought that I had carefully proofread it but going over it I realized I didn’t. My apologies.

    • Dave on February 28, 2022 at 5:07 pm

      Should never of gotten involved harassing people,,you got what you deserved

  2. Sam I am on March 2, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    I wonder how all the people who responded about the audits think now after the Summer of 2020 and the Storming of the Nations Capitol on 1-6-21. With citizens using cameras we were able to catch the inhumane act of the killing of George Floyd. With all of the public cameras going, we were also able to capture the “terrorists” who where trying to overthrow the government.

  3. Sean on June 26, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Thank you for your writing and incite.

    Your concluding phrase, “We shouldn’t carry stones over glass bridges as law enforcement” is really deep. Took me a while to digest it. I see the social contract between the public and police as the glass bridge and the heavy stones are the task we’ve asked LE to do.

    My expansion and paraphrase

    As LE we need to view our work for the public as carrying large stones over glass bridges. We must be careful not to drop or throw the the stone down, jump or stomp on the bridge. As this glass bridge is our social contract with the public.

    Would love to see you write an essay on this. You already have a great title, “Carrying large stones over glass bridges”


    • Sean on June 26, 2020 at 1:06 pm

      Sorry for slight misquote, using large instead of heavy

  4. Zitisin on June 4, 2020 at 11:08 pm

    Government agencies have been running amok since the inception of governments. When people finally find a way to inform the average citizen of how incompetent and wasteful their public employees are and how readily they are willing to waste tax funds on pointless endeavors, it’s natural for panic to ensue. Love them, or hate them, public auditors are exposing the truth behind the curtains and as plainly stated in their results, it’s easy pickings… and there’s where the real concern should be directed.

  5. Good citizen on March 14, 2020 at 8:56 am

    Thank you for resigning of your official duty ad a member of law enforcement. Your welcoming attitude of “auditors” being in the right is an unhealthy mindset. Since when is it ok to provoke law enforcement officers and verbally intimate and discriminate? It’s all good with you that customers at places like the DMV get filmed without their consent and posted on YouTube, huh? Stick to suing people, your the perfect fit for the job. Asshole.

    • mm Sergeant Ryan Brett on March 14, 2020 at 11:28 am

      I would love to reply to your comment with some logic to avoid the verbal debate that you are trying to get into. In my mindset and many others, we are not welcoming the intimidation of citizens or threats of violence to anybody. We are simply stating that until there’s a better law or way to handle some of these audit situations, and we must adapt and respond professionally to them. There is no law on the books anywhere that says you need permission to film anybody in a public place. If locations like the post office or anywhere else require privacy for patrons then they should provide a private room. With your narrow mindset I assume you’ve had a negative contact with auditors and failed to learn from it.

      Learn from others or follow in their failure.

      • Glenn D on July 14, 2020 at 7:28 am

        Hello Sergeant Brett. Thank you for your diplomatic and well thought out correspondence. It seems to be spot on. Law enforcement in Illinois is not allowed to comment publicly. According to local Chicago Police and County Sheriffs, it is against their contracts. That is unfortunate because there appears to be serious misunderstandings which cannot be resolved without open, civilized conversation between the citizenry and law enforcement directly. Is recording people and places in public a constitutionally protected freedom? Yes. Is disturbing employees and disrupting business inside a county building while filming constitutionally protected? No. Can a person of authority in a public facility ask an auditor to leave if they are disrupting business operations and have no other legitimate reason to be there other than filming? Yes. Can they be charged and prosecuted – at least here in Illinois – with trespassing if they do not leave at that time? Yes. Can they be prosecuted for disorderly conduct for disrupting business operations? You bet. To be clear. I am a staunch supporter of the Constitution…period. Let’s face it, though. These auditors bait law enforcement. Police are taken away from potentially, an emergency call, to come and deal with these situations. Now, if these auditors REALLY wanted to test these public officials, government contractors, oil refineries, etc, they would do what any responsible journalist would do: they would call ahead and let them know they were coming. They would, graciously although not required, maybe even ask for permission. It’s called common courtesy; and, who wants someone showing up at their door unannounced. Hey, that’s imprudent to say the least, which could have potentially fatal consequences. I am a professional copywriter and licensed private investigator. Yes, if I pull out a camera at a traffic stop, there is no time to call ahead for permission. But, let’s face it, these auditors are knowingly and willfully creating a disturbance. And, disorderly conduct is NOT protected free speech. And, to suggest that you can commit a crime and hide behind the protection of the First Amendment is not true. I read some of these complaints that these auditors have filed. They think they are anonymous. All you have to do is put in their lawyer’s name in PACER and you can trace the name of the plaintiff back to these guys. I have no ill will to “out” them. But, it does show that they are not too bright. And, yes, their actions and legal interpretations spread a great deal of unfounded and false information. So does every media outlet. No surprise there. First Amendment protections are essential. Crimes are not acceptable. If you REALLY wanted to expose “bad” law enforcement and public officials – some of which are incapable of doing the right thing – send them a fax and let them know you are coming. And, THEN, unlawful behavior could be not only litigated in a civil court but prosecuted criminally, as well. Qualified immunity would be denied. And, the really bad apples would go the way of the dodo. All encompassing? No. Showing your fellow man the simple dignities that should be demonstrated towards everyone? You bet. Does it evoke emotion and earn money? Maybe not so much. But, let’s face it. Making money is great. God granted us freedom to be enterprising. I don’t know what currency these contrived disturbances are being calculated it, but they are only going to escalate. And, using a constitutionally protected right to stem off criminal prosecution, e.g., disorderly conduct and criminal trespass, is equally as disturbing as the law enforcement officers who do not honor their oath. Thank you for your service. I could not do your job and live long or happily in this world.

        • Free Citizen on October 27, 2020 at 2:27 pm

          I hope I misread your comments, but sadly I think I got them exactly correct. It sounds like you think citizens are required to ask permission to engage in a constitutionally protected activity while standing on public sidewalks/ public access areas / right of ways/ et. … Is that what you are saying???

        • Rob DeFoor on October 16, 2021 at 12:55 pm

          Sir I do believe you’ve missed the point, the act of filming alone public areas , police , poilce buildings ECT
          Is protected there for education of officers to respect that ‘then ignore aduiters’ would seem to be an easy solution

          • mm Sergeant Ryan Brett on October 18, 2021 at 6:05 am

            Some of the advise for officers to “ignore” the auditors may be taken to openly. I prefer to explain to officers that you should contact the auditor but not get sucked into a debate. Just as you as an officer may be negatively contacted on stops, and must handle that professionally, the same for an audit.

            It really just takes us (police) being a little more humanistic and less offensive when we realize the threat is not there.

  6. Fred Swords on February 21, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    American civil rights activits called First Ammendment Auditors are intentionally seeking conflict with police and government just to taunt and prod hoping one will make a mistake just for the sake of sensationalistic journalism and their own arrogant egos. Their intent is not to exercise the rights we all have but to abuse them to harass anyone in the government. Their own cherished videos and posts show intent to harrass.
    Sooner or later with these people multiplying with government discontent there will be a tragic incident. They aren’t exercising their rights, they are abusing them. The police need a recourse and this may be it.

    First Ammendment Auditors Audited

    First Ammendment Auditors. A waste of time, money, resources, and lastly oxygen on their part. Under their legal rights the show up at government establishments to legally film. Their sole intent is to harass the government agency and the police who show up to investigate flaunting petulantly and abusing our rights.

    There is a solution. File a protective order. Film their behavior and then simply follow them to their vehicle or nearby vehicles for attempted ID. Police can do this easily with causeless plate checks. Upon positive ID file the order. Their own videos show harrassing behavior and belligerence in them. If anyone in the building even has a protective order against anyone the officer can investigate if it is this person. Tactics and planning. Once they start getting protective orders against them there is probable cause to check ID check for one. Just a few publicized orders could make this easy.

    The officer has the right to check if a protective order is being violated which is possible due to the bad behavior of some. That’s reasonable suspicion. That is a legal criminal investigation requiring ID. Not wise to say no. I know how laws can be manipulated from both sides. Police responding to calls are valid. A government employee calling police for suspicious behavior is all that is required.

    Next audit:

    Person filming government building.
    Officer approaches.

    Excuse me I am responding to a call of suspicious activity and the possible commision of a crime. May I get your ID?

    No! What crime? You have no right to bother me. Go away.

    You are now under arrest for disobeying a lawful command of an officer during a criminal investigation further hindering the performance of my duty. Get down on the ground and place your hands on your head.


    Just because you have a right to something it doesn’t always mean you should. In Washington state you have a right to sexual intercourse with animals. Go fulfill your rights there on that right especially the more rabid thinking ones like Jason Bassler the abuse pandering administration of The Free Thought Project 4.0. I know how they are from personal experience. Just visit The Nexus Reviews Page on Facebook to see how civily I was treated on my very first post with the Group.

    Thank you,

    Fredrick Alan Swords

    • J.H. on May 28, 2020 at 2:54 pm

      “There is a solution. File a protective order. Film their behavior and then simply follow them to their vehicle or nearby vehicles for attempted ID. Police can do this easily with causeless plate checks. Upon positive ID file the order. Their own videos show harrassing behavior and belligerence in them. If anyone in the building even has a protective order against anyone the officer can investigate if it is this person. Tactics and planning. Once they start getting protective orders against them there is probable cause to check ID check for one. Just a few publicized orders could make this easy.”

      LOL! I’d run that one by the PIO.

    • Zeke Foonman on June 14, 2020 at 11:02 pm

      I think you don’t have a clue.

    • Glenn D on July 14, 2020 at 7:32 am

      Fred Swords. Ditto. Thank you for your contribution. Can I quote you on your last paragraph? Epic.

    • Good Citizen on October 27, 2020 at 2:31 pm

      It sounds like you think citizens are required to ask permission to engage in a constitutionally protected activity while standing on public sidewalks/ public access areas / right of ways/ etc. … Is that what you are saying??? If so, I suppose you are sad that you don’t live in 1930’s Germany ” Show me your papers ” !

    • Anna Hall on December 1, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      ”Washington state you have a right to sexual intercourse with animals.”

      That’s A Class C felony in the state of Washington

    • Ray on January 29, 2021 at 8:53 pm

      What crime is being investigated after someone is caught filming a building from a sidewalk?

    • Mark Jacobs on May 19, 2021 at 6:27 am

      I could not agree with you more. I am not an US Citizen or anything like that, in fact, i am a South African. I can assure you that this kind of behavior will never be tolerated where i come from. Let alone the fact that people like him talk to your law enforcement officers in the way that this jerk does. If he spoke to me like that he would be knocked out real fast. Now i am not some matcho guy or anything like that, just, i have rights too, i respect each persons rights as much as they are prepared to respect mine. I have seen him insult, berate and goad people to the point that under any circumstance in public would earn him a black eye.

      What i dont get, who authorized them to do these audits or can someone in the USA wake up one morning and decide that they going to become auditors, to the point that they hide behind press rights and protection and insult general public and public servants.

      I have watched some of the videos and he keeps saying that there is no nefarious intent, i disagree, he is wicked to the limit. Insulting and simply childish, a complete know it all. He goes there to do his best to intimidate and incite anger, then when he gets it he cries abuse or being denied his rights, honestly man, what about just fundamental rights of the people you film without their consent, i get that you allowed to, but why does he feel that it is ok to do it, to buy a stamp????

      America needs to start protecting things like human rights.

  7. Bill Terry on February 6, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    Unfortunately some of these activists do not know which public spaces are considered public. Libraries and courthouses are by law considered ‘limited-public’ spaces and can have certain rules that prohibit some behaviors and/or filming.

  8. Glen A Schow on January 17, 2020 at 9:25 pm

    Good stuff. My experience in Northern Virginia, Fairfax Count, has been mixed with the Dominant wannbe;s taking the win by a small margin — but only when paired with another officer. They seem to feed on each other..

    I have always respected the Police and treat them cordially…Mostly they respond in kind. Thank you for your service to your community and this forum.

    Be safe out there (That is a Washington DC drop);)

  9. Michael Barrett on June 10, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    Thank you for your service to your community. Being an LEO is a tough job, I was a part of military police in Hawaii when I was stationed there so I know a little about it. Trying to balance safety and rights can be a delicate matter, and it is unfortunate some LEO’s overstep their bounds and disrupt that delicate balance. I have watched many of these audits, out of curiosity, and uneducated or overbearing LEO’s only serve to exacerbate the situation, providing the auditor with exactly what they came for – a confrontation.
    One commenter said that everyone should just give up their ID when the auditors are near secure facilities like military bases for the sake of security. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, those who give up freedom for security deserve neither.
    Yes, these auditors thrive on baiting the LEO’s into making poor decisions, even if the auditor is being calm and respectful. I don’t know if its current policy in PD’s to educate their officers on auditors and how to respond to them, but it should be. If every LEO who came in contact with an auditor would, after ascertaining the auditor is not a threat, wish them a good day and just walk away, these auditors would soon have no viewers on their YouTube channels. Most people don’t want to watch a boring video of photogs and LEO’s exchanging pleasantries.
    Once again, thanks for your service and a very well-written post. Stay safe.

    • mm Sergeant Ryan Brett on June 17, 2019 at 2:47 pm

      And thank you for your service as well. To answer your question, no police departments do not train in these audits. They are fairly new to the scene and many, sadly, don’t consider them a priority. Now I am saying that yes firearms, defensive tactics, officer safety all should be core training. Without these, officers could be killed or even get someone else killed. No failed audit will kill you literally. They WILL however kill an agencies reputation and bank account if handled incorrectly. We still see many of them being done wrong.
      At CALRO we are providing training on these audits and are considering spreading the training to others outside of law enforcement. These audiences would include government workers and security guards.

      Thanks again for the feedback!

      • Abraham C. Levinson on August 22, 2019 at 12:11 pm

        Sgt. Brett – thank you for your service and your commitment through this forum to educate, enlighten and – through the dissemination of this information and awareness – hopefully de-escalate and urge law enforcement to quickly assess and move on.
        I have a question relating to what I see as another element here – that most often the 1st Amendment Auditors are claiming to be press, use the term journalist, and state that they are working on a story. While I can see that nothing would be gained from challenging those statements in the moment – there are rules of conduct for journalists that these folks are not following. First and foremost is that the journalist doesn’t create a story, then post it on YouTube. The Society of Professional Journalists posts the code of ethics on their site and it includes some key and (relevant to this topic) points such as the following:
        “Journalists should:
        – Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness. ”
        “Journalists should:
        – Abide by the same high standards they expect of others.”

        The Ethical Journalism Network – lists the 5 Core Principles of Ethical Journalism – and it includes the following key point:
        “Journalists should do no harm. What we publish or broadcast may be hurtful, but we should be aware of the impact of our words and images on the lives of others.”

        Under the guise of testing their Constitutional freedoms, these citizen journalists are definitely causing great discomfort to those they film, seem to relish it, laugh, harangue and taunt both private citizens and law enforcement and under the guise of “educating” them speak to them smugly and condescendingly – all the while filming. I applaud all the officers that maintain their cool for their patience in dealing with these folks – but certainly – shouldn’t someone that claims to be a journalist be expected to act like a journalist?

        • mm Sergeant Ryan Brett on August 22, 2019 at 1:57 pm

          Wow that’s an awesome post and I absolutely love that you bring that up. Yes! A journalist of the highest caliber will hold themselves to standards of conduct that follow all rules and ethical guidelines set forth by professional associations and employers. This is the same for police officers. Many are right in line with the ethical and moral guidelines of law enforcement. Some however find the need to stray from such guides and create negative images for us trying to do right.

          The only oppositional argument to the ethical guides on journalism is occurring even in major news sources and other media outlets. If you watch various news channels, like CNN, NBC, MSNBC, FOX, etc. each one will report the same story with night and day differences. Some may be telling the truth, some will skew facts to create opinions, and others will outright manipulate details to sell hysteria. Unfortunately the media today has become a serious money making machine. Feel good stories do not sell. That is why we LOVE these audit videos. Just check the likes on YouTube. Videos that show police acting as we are training them, (which is no contact or friendly contact) do not get anywhere near the views of those where police officers lose their cool and look unprofessional.

          Thank you for the post! Love it!


      • Moses Jhai on January 15, 2020 at 6:28 pm

        I’ve been seeing videos of people videoing police for a very long time now, even before cellphones had the ability to record (think Rodney King in the 90’s). Now, Sgt. Ryan Brett, you mention providing training on these audits which alludes, to me, training only for these specific situations with auditors but what about the rest of us who aren’t auditors? What I’ve gathered from these 1st Amendment auditors is that they are exposing something that’s been happening for a long time and it doesn’t necessarily have to do with filming in public. I have to say I’ve watched over 100+ videos of various lengths and situations from a variety of auditors and I feel very empowered by what they do but not necessarily the exact way they do. But I don’t feel like I could exercise my 1st Amendment rights without my cellphone recording because cops are human and have egos and the ones who think they can power-trip will just go back to their old ways no matter what kind of new training they receive because they will only be trained to respond in a certain way to 1st Amendment auditors who have cameras out. What are your thoughts on this?

        • mm Sergeant Ryan Brett on January 15, 2020 at 7:12 pm

          Thank you for the comment. My take is this; we have seen many videos of police doing the wrong thing. Since the training on how to handle these situations, I am seeing more officers responding properly to cameras. It is a total change to how we work and handle the public filming of us. I don’t think most officers mind being on film. The transparency of our jobs is just getting started, and I say it is about time. To simplify the auditors training process, they are just people with cameras and a desire to film police. If you were to take a camera and stand outside of your local police agency, I would hope the encounter would be like any others (that ended well). I have even thought of doing this myself at my local police to see how they would handle me filming with my modest cell phone. I am not 100% certain they they would pass but that’s often the point – education.

          I think you will find WAY more entertainment of audits of random people in the public. This is something that has occurred recently in a southern state which ended badly for the auditor (assaulted by diners in a restaurant who didn’t want to be filmed). I am interested in seeing where this eventually leads.

          Thank you for the post!


          • Moses Jhai on January 16, 2020 at 12:38 pm

            It doesn’t seem like it will ever be a perfect world. I also strongly believe that it’s more than just law enforcement’s responsibility to be re-trained but the public’s responsibility to educate themselves and exercise their rights more than ever. The onus is really on us to know and exercise our rights as citizens. We’re the ones who have to take responsibility.

    • Glenn D on July 14, 2020 at 8:06 am

      “If every LEO who came in contact with an auditor would, after ascertaining the auditor is not a threat, wish them a good day and just walk away, these auditors would soon have no viewers on their YouTube channels. Most people don’t want to watch a boring video of photos and LEO’s exchanging pleasantries.” Ditto, Michael Barret. The facts aren’t sexy and they don’t sell very well, do they?

      Since your were a former MP, is there truth to the rumors that if you “give up your ID” to the military police for “suspicious behavior” near the grounds of a military base, you may very well wind up on some terrorist watch list? If it’s not true, it certainly sounds compelling. Please advise.

    • Rob DeFoor on October 16, 2021 at 1:03 pm

      That’s because even after an officer (of a bad audit) concludes there is no threat they next decide to show their power by forcing a person to identify
      Terms like ‘you work for me’ seem to Really upset all but your most seasoned officer

      • mm Sergeant Ryan Brett on October 18, 2021 at 6:03 am

        That is true. That is why I am hoping to provide training and education to those who may otherwise become triggered by an audit. We really do work for the community. This should be kept in mind by the officers and even if we do sometimes not like to hear it, as in the context you used, it is still the truth.

  10. John sanuy II on April 30, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Hey there Sgt. Brett….it’s rare when you hear me say anything good about an LEO but you sir are an exception. it’s been great reading the questions, responses and opinions of others. Unfortunately some people frighten me. I mean, really cause me concern because of their viewpoints. So I try and respond back with a common sense approach to my point but it feels like i’m talking to deaf ears. I don’t think anything I say can change a persons mind if they don’t want to learn. As far as these audits go, I’m pretty much on the auditors side. For far to long we as americans have been baited by the police into committing crimes, and generally going against our own morals and values that we lose sight of when faced with these sting operations. And so it begins, auditors basically doing a reverse sting operation and LE cries fowl! The point of an audit, we can all agree, is to bring to light those who support our rights and those who don’t. Those who don’t are considered tyrants and that’s a suitable definition of their behavior. Usually from what I’ve seen, these tyrants learn valuable lessons that they will never forget. This is what i get from watching~ I believe it’s retribution from a false arrest in 1996 in Balch Springs Texas that directed my beliefs. You keep up your good work and I’ll continue to support what you’re doing. peace.

    • mm Sergeant Ryan Brett on May 7, 2019 at 8:52 am

      Well thank you sir. I also find myself on the side of the auditors in many of the videos when LE approaches and, with their limited training, begin the process of trying to figure out what they actually have. You can see it. We initially respond to suspicious circumstances. Once any officer sees that it is just filming, and cannot articulate anything more, they need break contact and move on. This is a basic principle.
      In more stark contrast, we used to respond to “suspicious persons” calls, especially in the wake of 9/11. People were calling 911 on people just loitering. It was a paranoia. As a department, we (Corona PD) level these types of calls and even evaluate going out at all. I like to think most agencies are getting smarter about their responses and training, but that just isn’t always the case.
      Thank you for the post!

      • Francisco Santiago on May 15, 2019 at 2:43 pm

        The responses from some officers is unfortunate. As a young officer (many moons ago) I worked in a small community. My father also worked as an officer in a nearby town. On more than occasion he reminded me, our peace cannot be disturbed and contempt of cop is not a crime. Do your job, be fair, be respectful and never forget these people are your neighbors. I think trust between LE and the communities we serve has been severely damaged by the well publicized bad apples we see in the media. Things have degraded to the point of us against them on both sides. People on one side feel the need to “audit” the other. Then there’s another side where just seeing a camera sets off a defensive reaction. This is not how things should be. We need to remember WE ARE the communities we serve and police as the example not the exception.

        • mm Sergeant Ryan Brett on May 15, 2019 at 3:33 pm

          Very well said and I cannot agree any more. I hope this attitude spreads.

      • Anthony Lopez on May 18, 2019 at 10:36 am

        What the auditors have become is shameful. On “we the people audit wars.” I am exposing auditors that abuse our rights.

  11. John Sanuy on April 30, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    testing testing testing.

  12. will on April 29, 2019 at 12:00 am

    Sergeant Ryan Brett how do you feel a proper audit would go… I don’t have the opportunity to communicate with the other side and id like to know what you would indicate as a successful informative audit…

    • mm Sergeant Ryan Brett on April 29, 2019 at 4:36 am

      Thanks for the question! That is actually a really good one, as the success of an audit depends on the knowledge of the agency and the approach of the auditor.

      With a good audit, the officer(s) will have a lacking of knowledge and will, obviously, fail the audit (demanding ID, stopping video recording, etc.). In absence of suspicious or probable cause, this is a fail.

      The auditor should be professional and carry themselves with a dignity. An auditor who uses foul language, insults, and other attempts to get a rise, only really lose audience from those in the market for education. Although they make for funny videos, they drive the wedge between officers and auditors.

      Hope that answered your question.

      • Andy Anderson on April 30, 2019 at 7:26 am

        Sgt Brett, first, I’d would like to thank you for your service and your comments regarding this subject. That said I would like to know, in your opinion, why the training, of not just young rookie officers but veteran officers as well seems to be lacking on this topic. I personally do not agree with anyone confronting an officer with the sole purpose of provocation and then using the constitution as defense. On the other hand, when an auditor is respectful and is not suspected of or committing a crime, all law enforcement should be aware of the individuals constitutional rights and treat that individual with the respect they are in titled. In so many of these audit situations, law enforcement approaches the auditor as if they are a convicted felon and not simply a citizen performing a constitutionally protected activity. Training is key to defusing these encounters.

        • mm Sergeant Ryan Brett on April 30, 2019 at 6:17 pm

          You know? I’m not sure. I can’t be the only one in the law enforcement field that sees the glaring lack of training which is confusing and embarrassing police officers. We are training through CALRO but I’m not sure many other groups are. If my advice can change even a small number of officers views then I consider it a success. We cannot keep pushing Constitutional rights back into the recesses of the grey area of law. Thank you.

  13. Jon Limo on April 24, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    I see it like Sgt. Brett, but I’d prefer lawmakers to make an exception for government / military / defense facilities – don’t get me wrong, I don’t want it to be forbidden to film military/DoD/gvt. facilities from a public space, at all ! – but here is what I mean:

    Nobody has a problem showing ID/License when driving a car, why should it be a big problem when dedicatedly filming restricted areas ( EVEN while standing on public property) to be obliged to show an ID if asked to? In my eyes driving a car is not suspicious at all. Filming defense facilities isn’t necessarily. But denying to say your name while filming defense facilities starts getting into the grounds of arising suspicion, from a purely objective standpoint.
    Basically these “auditors” are abusing a loophole that still has to be plugged. It’s less apparent to me that they help law enforcement officers to do their jobs, rather than obstruct and steal their time, while at the same time pointing out to our legislative branch that an exception has to be made for exactly these kind of situations:
    “unidentified person filming military/dod/gov. facilities while standing inside a certain perimeter / buffer zone on public side of property”.
    And a buffer zone could for example be a ~10-200 foot wide strip around a compound , width depending on location (inner-city, countryside, etc.) and type of facility (from weapon/ammo storage, nuclear research all the way to prisons and other less sensitive compounds). Also it lies in an officers discretionary powers to determine if recording person(s) are inside buffer zone, if yes they are obliged to show ID. Simple.

    I won’t even go into the terrorist argument, because maybe 1000 times the so called “journalist” is really a journalist or activist… but the 1001th time…
    Especially when law enforcement officers get used to handling these situations more lax. Then I can see it already coming… scouted out compound… intrusion and possible harm caused. And the officer will be like “B-b-but he said he was just doing photos for a public audit and he is a free-journalist!”….
    Why does it even have to come as far as that ? Why does it always have to make a bang! before we accept to see such an obvious lesson.

    • mm Sergeant Ryan Brett on April 29, 2019 at 4:41 am

      Anything and anyone can erupt into an attack. We can’t ban UHaul trucks from parking near Federal buildings. We can however be aware. Knowing that anyone can just walk into public areas and start shooting is something we have to be prepared for, practice, and work around.

      We cannot make photography and video a crime or even a suspicious activity (by itself). Officers just have to remain vigilant.

      • Josh on May 1, 2019 at 8:32 pm

        I truly commend you for responding the way you do. I understand that these videos and people have to be aggravating to deal with, but they are well within their rights to do it. You swore to protect those rights. We have to respect that even if it can get on our collective nerves. It’s nice to have definitive proof that good police officers still exist. Thank you.

        • mm Sergeant Ryan Brett on May 7, 2019 at 8:42 am

          Thank you. I don’t find it hard to be civil. I fully understand the auditors purpose and goals, and they are more often than not validated by the officers poor responses. I have been seeing many more videos with proper responses however, which is encouraging.

          Thank you!

    • John Sanuy on April 30, 2019 at 5:26 pm

      No. Absolutely incorrect. Your logic doesn’t hold water. If it did, then everything would have to be made to be against the law because what about the 1,001st time it happens then? See, it’s going to happen, just a matter of when. So let’s be proactive and make it illegal before it happens. Why don’t we keep things like they are, let auditors do their auditing and let government officials become educated and we all win? It’s obvious you are a person who lives by their feelings and if you haven’t heard I’ll be happy to tell you. Your feelings don’t trump my constitutional rights. Suspicious is not a crime, neither a felony or a misdemeanor so rather than write up new laws to pacify you snowflakes, how about you grow some thicker skin and keep your twisted comments to yourself.

    • Jake Macdoougal on May 22, 2019 at 8:46 am

      Why is it so many Officers (not all i. e. this is not a blanket statement) approach “CITIZENS” being confrontational, loud and obnoxious for example and completely trying to “DOMINATE ” any situation they approach and/or visually observe, and many many times there is no crime being committed nor should there be any suspicion of a crime about to occur. So what happens going all the way back to my day John Q. Citizen does not feel glad or even safe when an officers are present. Further, as a veteran i came up through the ranks and earned my stripes as a Military man starting out as E-1 and working my way up to E-5 before my discharge and in the military the only ones we called “Officer’ were College educated men and women who had been to Officer Training school, (OCS). It gives “Cops” a false sense of their own position in this society; for example, being called Officer when most are just High school graduates places them in the ” Lexion Above” citizens who they mean to serve. Last comment, if an “Officer” is trained to, ‘control, dominate and intimidate’ every citizen they approach and sometimes and yes many times we the rank and file are supposed to be treated with some regard in that we live in a “FREE” country, especially if we are not committing a crime and we are just enjoying our freedom. If these “Officers” walk up intimidate and then dominate whomever they approach how can you expect citizens not see and believe what the truth is in fact telling us. We no longer live in a “Free” country and its becoming a ‘Polic-state,’ especially in places like CA, where when there was no crime in grabbing a sleeping bag and sleeping on the beach or local Mtns. now if your caught, one is fined ticketed and has money “stolen” that is paying for what is fast becoming and for “Years” has already been a “Police-state” controlled by Politicians and Corporations who live in Mansions and behind great walls.

      • mm Sergeant Ryan Brett on May 22, 2019 at 9:20 am

        Well first, congratulations and thank you for your service. I understand your statement is not a blanket one, as not all officers dominate everyone they meet. There are of course a few that take this a little far. I can only surmise that this behavior results from a department culture, a personal view of the job of the police, and training to have “command presence.” I always viewed the job of police to include emotional intelligence, and a knowledge of when to be forceful and when to just be chill. Just as human beings are variable in their mannerisms, so are the officers that take the job. I am hoping that through new ideas and training, we as police can reform our approach to situations in which “domination” isn’t necessary. Thank you for the comment.

    • Ray on January 29, 2021 at 9:02 pm

      “Nobody has a problem showing ID/License when driving a car, why should it be a big problem when dedicatedly filming restricted areas ( EVEN while standing on public property) to be obliged to show an ID if asked to? In my eyes driving a car is not suspicious at all. Filming defense facilities isn’t necessarily. But denying to say your name while filming defense facilities starts getting into the grounds of arising suspicion, from a purely objective standpoint.”

      We don’t mind giving our ID during a traffic stop because it has to be established that we are qualified to drive a car. Cops are qualified to do that by simply checking for a valid drivers license. The idea that a cop should be determining if we have the right to take pictures in public, is laughable. When did you become fit to determine if we can exercise our constitutional rights. Any cop who thinks he should have the right to do that isn’t fit to be a cop in the first place.

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