I sometimes get these random youtube shorts of police people in the US harassing people who try to film them while on duty.

Then you have these videos where these people have to try and convince these people whos job it is to enforce the law that they do actually have the right to film police while on duty.

Apparently in the US you have to educate police on your rights because you cannot expect law enforcement to have any specific knowledge of the laws they are tasked with enforcing.

I watch these random American people's dash cams and see police people doing things I know to be unconstitutional which is really bad when you consider the fact that my legal education does not comprise anything more than being a regular active member of this SE and that I live halfway around the world and have never set foot on US soil.

I'm just left wondering how exactly it is possible for the average bobby-on-the-beat in the US to have such a fundamental lack of knowledge on US laws?

I do not think that there are no good police in the US. All Im saying is the google bot shows me with alarming regularity US police people that this site has taught me are indeed trampling on peoples rights. I just cannot really understand how that could be the case?

Im not trying to generalise or stereotype anyone but I dont believe the opinion that American police could do with a couple of courses in constitutional law at a local community college is being unfair to them.

What legal requirements and standards are there for the legal training that US Officers of the Law receive before receiving their qualification and office. Are there no legal minimums as to understanding levels by law enforcement agents of people's constitutional rights?

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    I’m voting to close this question because it belongs on politics.stackexchange.com as it is a question about law enforcement Mar 6, 2023 at 19:49
  • I suppose this could be salvaged if it asked something like; what are the legal requirements or minimum standards for law enforcement training - or words to that effect.
    – user35069
    Mar 6, 2023 at 20:09
  • @Rick agree. (See my edit.) Mar 7, 2023 at 0:14
  • What makes you think they don't know that it's legal to be filmed. Most officers do indeed know that, but they don't like it and there is nothing that stops them from harassing and intimidating people who try.
    – Hilmar
    Mar 8, 2023 at 23:02

1 Answer 1


Your appraisal is unjustly harsh, though not incomprehensible. A surprising number of lawyers are legally illiterate, in the same sense, even Supreme Court justices have to be told what the law is in a certain sense, and they often have to discover the law rather than recite it.

Bear in mind that the typical education requirement for being a police officer is graduation from high school, and not a law degree. The educational requirements for the FBI are stiffer. They learn certain basics in a training course that lasts a few months, which covers everything.

There is no law prohibiting a police officer from "harassing" a person who wants to film them. The line in the sand is that they cannot prevent a person from filming them. It would be interesting to know how many officers are actually unaware that they cannot force a person to stop filming. Also, the statement that they "can't" stop a person from filming them is a bit of an over-statement – they actually are capable of doing that, but what are the consequences? Given , their own concern reduces to two issues: personal liability (getting sued) and department procedures manual (getting fired). It is invalid to infer ignorance from a particular pattern of behavior.

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    Every FBI has a college degree. Hoover himself decided at the inception of the FBI that all agents have to be college educated. A well educated law enforcement officer is quite possible.
    – Neil Meyer
    Mar 6, 2023 at 20:15
  • Yes, but there are only a few tens of thousands of FBI agents. There are on the order to 700,000 full-time police officers in the US, and many more than that if you count all LEOs
    – user6726
    Mar 6, 2023 at 20:48
  • Yes but in England, the levels of ignorance described (and indeed independently witnessed in internet videos) is rather quite unthinkable here in the UK. And I'm sure this is underpinned by a legal basis in minimum requirements for police training before they are granted their powers, although one also gets the impression that the standards here are also declining (but still well ahead of the apparent situation in the US). Mar 7, 2023 at 0:15
  • It takes longer to become a barber than it does to become a cop. Mar 7, 2023 at 0:34

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