Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"Rate-My-Cop: New Website Has Police Furious". However, the information is apparently obtained by public sources and appears to be protected by the usual 1st Amendment provisions:
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."
One key question is whether there's any reason to assume that the information posted is reliable. I would imagine that a lot of people would have an incentive to post information that might not necessarily be accurate about individual police officers. And you can make a guess as to whether a deliberate inaccuracy would be more likely to portray an officer in falsely good light or a falsely bad light.

(Via Cynical-C.)

Update: Looks like the site has been shut down.