First Amendment “Auditor” Response

Many local government agencies have been subjected to groups calling themselves “auditors” who photograph and record agency staff during the course of the business day. The actions of the “auditors” are often protected by the First Amendment, but these forms of activism can be jarring for staff and the public.

While many of these encounters are peaceful, though unexpected, some can become confrontational and lead to intervention by law enforcement – and the agency’s response quickly becomes the incident’s focus. Frequently, the organizations conducting the “audit” will immediately post video online that is often not representative of what actually occurred – but generates a large volume of revenue-generating views and a hit to the agency’s credibility.

It’s helpful when staff is aware of the laws surrounding these situations and best practices that allow the photographing/recording to occur with minimal disruption to public business. SAE helps ensure that your elected officials and staff throughout the organization are knowledgeable about the laws pertaining to this issue and best practices when faced with members of the media or the public who are recording in publically-accessible areas of City facilities. We’ll help you develop a policy centered on effective response and train your staff to react professionally when your agency becomes a target.

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