Cops, nationwide, furious about Free Speech and the Internet
Log on at 6:30 p.m. Pacific to see what police drama-inspired steps deputies are taking to battle the website.SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) ― Police agencies from coast to coast are furious with a new website on the internet. RateMyCop.com has the names of thousands of officers, and many believe it is putting them in danger.
Officer Hector Basurto, the vice president of the Latino Police Officers Association, recently learned about the site. "I'd like to see it gone," he said.
"Having a website like this out there puts a lot of law enforcement in danger," he said. "It exposes us out there."
Kevin Martin, the vice president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, agrees. "Will they be able to access our home addresses, home phone numbers, marital status, whether or not we have children? That's always a big concern for us," he said.
Creators of the site say no personal information will be on the site. They gathered officers' names, which are public information, from more than 450 police agencies nationwide. Some listings also have badge numbers along with the officer's names.
Rebecca Costell says, in a statement, that the site helps people rate more than 130,000 officers by rating them on authority, fairness and satisfaction.
She adds, "Our website's purpose is to break the stereotype that people have that cops are all bad by having officers become responsible for their actions."
The site is so new that many Bay Area police agencies are not aware of it. San Francisco police say they have no connection with the site and would not take any of its comments seriously.
Police associations that represent more than 100,000 police and sheriffs in California are now seeking legislation to see if they can eliminate the site altogether. They say that officers who are rated face unfair maligning without any opportunity to defend themselves.
The CPCA will work with other law enforcement associations to pursue legislation to stop the website. Constitutional attorney and former San Francisco Police Commissioner Peter Keane said eliminating the site is difficult.
"Any kind of publication is protected as long as it's not publishing privileged information," he said.
The First Amendment would be the site's protection.
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[click here] for my letter to Connecticut State Police Commissioner John A. Danaher III about Connecticut State Police Trooper perjury and Connecticut State Police misconduct. Will he cover it up and retaliate against complainers like all the rest? Are there still a Connecticut State Police dragnet for those on their secret "Enemies List"? [more]
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