Law Enforcement: Protect Yourself From False Accusations
law enforcement officer facing false accusations

Law Enforcement: Protect Yourself From False Accusations

Scartelli Olszewski P.C.

When it feels like we hear a new story about another bad apple every week, it can put law-abiding officers on edge. When one officer breaks the law, it’s not just themselves and the public that they’re hurting, but every law enforcement officer who has been doing their best to protect their community. This opens up law enforcement to high scrutiny and in the worst cases, false accusations of police misconduct and brutality.

If you’re an officer of the law, then you need to protect yourself from false accusations. If you’ve been falsely accused of police misconduct, you can trust the criminal defense attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C.

How to Protect Yourself from False Accusations

When you’re trying to protect yourself from false accusations–preemptively and as you receive them–you need to be proactive. Take precautions that gather information and proof of your upstanding behavior, and leave nothing to interpretation. There’s no reason to give anyone the ability to discredit or paint you as someone you’re not.

#1. Keep the Cameras On

Currently, Pennsylvania does not mandate the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement officers. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them. Body cameras have been used as a way to catch officers committing acts they shouldn’t be committing, but they can work in reverse as well. A body camera can prove whether someone’s accusations of police brutality are true or false. It records your voice and the voices of nearby individuals while also providing a similar view of the situation to your own.

Record every interaction you have this way. It doesn’t matter if you’re pulling someone over, removing a public nuisance, or responding to a 911 call, have it on.

Utilize your dash cam as well in case anything should happen to your body cam. Ensure you have the charger for your body cam with you, along with an extra body cam, and always make sure they’re charged before you go out. Video proof of the events as they unfolded is one of the most unbias pieces of evidence there is.

#2. Remind Aggressive Individuals That They are on Camera

Body cameras and dash cams pull double duty with how they can protect you and the people around you. Unsavory individuals feel safe falsely accusing you of something when they think they can’t be proven as a liar. A body camera can let them know that you can provide proof of your actions.

Think of it as a deterrent. If they know that they are being recorded and can be held accountable for their actions, they will be less likely to try accusing you of something you didn’t do. Don’t be afraid to alert someone that you can and will be able to legally defend yourself.

#3. Don’t Use Foul Language

In today’s climate, people feel inclined to believe false accusations about law enforcement. One of the most famous lines of our Miranda Rights is that “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” What many forget is that it applies to police officers as well.

If you’re caught using foul language in the heat of the moment, you have made it easier for someone to discredit you and attack your reputation. Your job is intense, but many will still expect you to remain composed at all times, sometimes even in the most extreme of circumstances.

This is true even in the privacy of your state vehicle or with other officers in public, so be careful of what you say. You never know who’s listening, who’s recording you, and who’s looking to make a false accusation against a law enforcement officer.

#4. Record Every Detail You Can Remember in Your Report

After an incident when you have to write your report, record as many details as you can remember. This may be tedious work, but it’s important. These details will go on the record, and you want your side of the story on the record with as much detail as possible.

#5. Contact an Attorney

Don’t face accusations alone without a legal representative at your side. You may have more legal experience than the majority of people in the country, but that experience does not necessarily translate to the court of law. Odds are good that your accuser will have attorneys of their own. Make sure you have just as much support.

Law Enforcement: Don’t Face False Accusations Alone

The criminal defense attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. have a history of standing by our protectors on the police force. When you have dedicated your career to protecting the welfare and safety of our community, it can be frustrating to have your reputation tarnished due to the poor actions of fellow officers. Protect your reputation, your career, and your freedom by contacting our attorneys today.