The VAPA test bed car above, what we affectionately call "The Kamau," named after great American, former police officer, and civic superstar Diop Kamau of PoliceAbuse.Com.
Citizens should arm themselves with existing inexpensive audio/video recording equipment. This is what some term, "the right to keep and bear cameras." When dealing with abusive law enforcement, proof of events is an absolute must if your rights are to be preserved. If you are arrested and charged with the typical quota-induced misdemeanor and choose to fight the relatively inexpensive charge, you need proof. While the state bears the burden of proof, according to the legal books, in reality the word of a police officer often trumps the word of the citizen regardless of the lack of evidence. The reality is today the citizen is guilty until proven innocent. Recording devices are helping curb this injustice.
There are many different types of recording devices that can be purchased. We recommend this device which comes with multiple mounts allowing it to be mounted and hidden in your vehicle or worn around your neck. It records audio wonderfully and the video is sufficient.
Also, there are several free applications and free services for smartphones & devices (iPhones, Droid, etc) that allows you to stream your video/audio and location from your smartphone to the internet (privately or publicly), that provide an invaluable tool for preserving evidence when dealing with law enforcement. The Bambuser app is probably the best, and a close second is the Qik application.
Click here to visit a great collection of apps for protection assembled by CopBlock.Org!
An outstanding device for your vehicle is the Joutec ADR-3000 Dual Dash Camera with built in GPS. The device is small, can be easily disguised to look like a radar detector, and records quality video and audio of the front of the vehicle and, more importantly, the entire inside of the vehicle including the driver's side window where law enforcement typically approaches. With this device you can play back the audio/video and also see the speed you were driving and the location (it even plots it on Google Maps to recreate your drive). In this way you can challenge any bogus claims made by unscrupulous law enforcement officers. It's also very useful if there is a car accident. The best part is once you install it you can forget it, until you need the evidence it contains. The ADR-3000 is a basic model and relatively inexpensive, although Joutec does make newer and more capable units.
While we haven't tried any of these products, Brick House Security also offers several relatively cheap products to consider.
For those interested in a professional state of the art system with all the bells and whistles, to include recording from multiple cameras and multiple microphones onto a mobile DVR that also records GPS location and speed, turn signal status, and can wirelessly connect to an existing wireless network to transfer footage, please take a look at the products offered by Protect All Security. One product they offer is the covert AV360 rear view mirror for your vehicle. While it looks like a normal rear view mirror, it contains four covert cameras and a microphone to record outside the front of the vehicle, the interior of the vehicle, and driver and passenger side windows along with audio inside the vehicle. Protect All uses DVRs like the Eye 3 Mobile "Witness Pro," which can record up to 8 individual channels of audio and video as well as your speed, position, the status of turn signals, doors, brakes, and other vehicle sensors to a mobile, removable, 500GB hard drive. When it comes to collecting data, the Protect All/Eye 3 Mobile systems are outstanding, and their ability to connect the DVR to a wireless network offers the ability to stream precious evidence to a remote computer or server where it cannot be "accidentally" lost. This system is a bit more expensive, but very capable.
There is technology to fit every budget, and it doesn't have to be expensive. You can see the Joutec ADR-3000 Dual Dash Camera in action below, as it captured this blatant fourth amendment violation by the Border Patrol in Uvalde Texas on 18 March 2010.
Please visit our Facebook page to discuss and share with others technology that works for you. Technology changes quickly and gets less expensive every day.
You never know when you will be the victim of police abuse or will find yourself in a position to record abuse of another citizen. If you use devices recommended here to catch government agents denying your Constitutional rights, please post the video on YouTube and email us the link!