“Police back bill allowing them to record drug suspects” @ Chicago Tribune

Posted on April 1, 2012

Ryan Haggerty — April 1, 2012: “Illinois residents who want the ability to record audio of police officers in public aren’t the only people hoping to change the state’s controversial eavesdropping law.

Several major police organizations in Illinois are also trying to modify the statute, but not to give the public the right to record officers. Police want more freedom to record suspected drug dealers.

A bill that passed the House on Friday would allow undercover officers to make audio recordings of suspected drug dealers without a judge’s approval, a change police say would better protect officers while helping them build stronger cases.

But opponents of the bill — who back efforts to allow citizens to record police — say they fear this bill is a slippery slope. Critics worry police will eventually seek unilateral permission to record suspects in a variety of other cases.

The push to give police more power to record conversations with suspected drug dealers comes as Illinois’ eavesdropping law faces mounting scrutiny from activists, courts and legislators.

The law makes Illinois one of only a few states where it is illegal to record both private and public conversations without the consent of everyone involved. Critics say that standard is unreasonable now that so many people carry smartphones capable of recording audio and video……………………”

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