*BEFORE YOU CLICK* The following link leads to a blog which contains images that may not be safe for workplaces or viewing by children (the blogger is a photographer whose repertoire includes artistic nudes).

I stumbled across a link to this blog article about police methods in dealing with photographers in public. It’s… confusing. I have friends in law enforcement, so I can understand the desire to be absolutely certain about a person’s intentions and motives for doing something. The attitude this particular officer describes, however, is not so much cautious as belligerent. It troubles me.

According to the officer interviewed, as far as he’s concerned, whether or not someone’s breaking the law ‘doesn’t matter’, and it similarly doesn’t matter whether or not someone’s required to show ID. My instinct is to be offended by that. The job description is ‘law enforcement’. If no law is being broken, immediate initiation of what can only be called harassment activity is not an appropriate response.

This really stood out for me: “we hope the public will take note and take comfort from this kind of activity. We want people to feel more secure.”

Having read this interview, I don’t feel more secure. I feel terrified, because it illustrates that there are law enforcement officers out there willing to obscure the law and intimidate individuals in response to little to no provocation. I understand that there is a balance between protecting the rights of individuals within a society, and protecting the society as a whole, but this seems way over the line, to me. I may be biased: I’m a photographer, and I enjoy photographing structures for the artistic merit they may hold. I’m not interested in doors and windows (an example mentioned in the conversation) unless they form an integral part of the composition, but now I’ve the worrisome thought in the back of my mind that my liberty may be in danger for doing so. I don’t like to think that my name and address may show up in a police file because the light was just right behind an abandoned warehouse while I was out for a walk one Saturday afternoon.

I know there are officers and people related to the field who read my blog- please weigh in and give me your thoughts? I genuinely want to understand the issue, all sides of it, and if understanding gives me reassurance, so much the better.

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