Associate Magazine FBINAA Q2-2023


FBINAA.ORG | Q2 2023


Law enforcement agencies across the United States must develop and implement training around the topic of First Amendment audits now more than ever. With the prevalence of social media platforms and emerging technologies, officers cannot escape the reality that every action they take will fall under the scrutiny of the public. Providing training on this subject will allow staff to respond properly when faced with such incidents. I ndividuals, also known as auditors, within a community initiate these events, as compared to organized groups seeking to achieve a common outcome. The auditor’s agenda is quite easy to determine based on their persistent efforts to catch law enforcement officers in the act of violating their First Amendment rights. The subject(s) is typically armed with a video camera of sorts and sometimes a confrontational attitude primed for eliciting a negative response from a law enforcement officer. The subject(s) goes out of their way to ensure they do not cross the line of committing a crime, but rather flirts with it and hopes to solicit an unlawful response. This is where better officer education comes into play. The auditor has likely studied exactly what they are legally allowed to do and what would cause law enforcement officers to make an unlawful arrest. If the officers involved have not been educated on the topic at hand, they may find themselves making inappropriate decisions. Should the auditor be successful, they will now have video footage for use toward filing a lawsuit against the targeted agency. TRAINING FOR SUCCESS Law enforcement leaders must proactively create a training curriculum for their staff, as this phenomenon is spreading across the country. Law enforcement agencies can better arm and prepare their officers through training for these often-tense encounters, and not only bet ter protect their staff, but simultaneously reduce the agency’s vicarious liability. It only takes a cursory search of the internet to find examples of organizations (e.g., city councils) agreeing to pay settlements to these auditors in the tens of thousands of dollars to avoid suit.

continued on page 10


Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker