Is It Illegal to Take Pictures of Police Cars?

Many people capture pictures of police cars during an accident or crime event. However, local people do it to deliver and store information about a particular incident.

Is It Illegal to Take Pictures of Police Cars? You can take pictures of police cars because it is not illegal, and it is not included in the Act. The public has rights, distance photography is allowed, public locations allow it, and people have freedom with no punishment.

The trend of capturing cop cars through smartphones and professional cameras increased in the last few years. People have permission for this photography in the USA.

Why is it not illegal to take pictures of police cars?

It is legal to capture their pictures by following the correct laws. According to these reasons, you can capture these vehicles with your camera. 

Not included in the Act

Illinois has a specific Eavesdropping Act, which has different clauses and regulations. The Act regulates, monitors, and operates the punishments and laws.

It includes an audio recording of the cop and other attorneys. It controls the violation, suggests punishments, and includes class 1 felonies. 

But, you can carry out the photography of police vehicles because it does not include in this Illinois Act. Moreover, the Act has no restriction or punishment for this action.

Filming their automobiles through your camera lens is allowed in the USA. However, the cop can stop you when you start audio recording. 

Public rights

In the USA, the public has the First Amendment Right to capture pictures of police vehicles without restrictions. You can videotape the activities of cop cars when they are in operation in a public spot.

First Amendment Rights is a constitutional regulation. However, its implementation slightly changes according to different states and their laws. 

In several USA states, constitutional law is applicable, and you can photograph these vehicles without hesitation.

As a professional camera person, you have permission. Also, you can carry out this action as a regular person. 

Distant photography

Many people take photographs of police vehicles near their windows and doors. In such circumstances, the cop can snatch the cameras for a few minutes. 

The officers warn people to distance themselves from cars and crime areas. In such circumstances, distance is better.

It keeps you safe from any legal problems. Also, you can protect yourself from unwanted involvement in a serious matter.

You can use your professional camera or mobile. The officers do not remove the individuals who stand at a distance. 

Only in public locations

You can only take pictures of Police vehicles in public locations. You cannot enter private properties according to the standard regulations.

Also, you can avoid interference with the operation of officers in these public locations. In these public spots, they do not stop you. 

They do not argue with the cameraman in public parks, gardens, restaurants, and other places. However, you cannot violate this law.

You cannot choose private property for recording these automobiles. 

Freedom with no punishment

Police operate in different public areas of the USA to maintain justice and peace. In these areas, local people can take photographs of their cars without permission. 

Furthermore, the citizens have permission and freedom for it. They have no restrictions from the government or local authorities. 

Without restrictions, they can capture photographs from different angles. Many people carry out this action when they access police vehicles in their surroundings. 

From these people, you cannot distinguish the professional new reporters and citizens. All of them have equal freedom in this photography. 

Where can you take pictures of police cars?

The public has permission to carry out the photography of these vehicles. In the following locations, it is allowed and safe.

Parking lots

The parking lots of parks and hotels are public locations. These spots allow you to take pictures of police cars.

Also, you can videotape their operation and movement. It is safe, and you can perform it away from the car.

Furthermore, you can maintain a distance from the officers to avoid offense. In these parking lots, you can sit inside your vehicle and take pictures of police automobiles outside. 

Cop does not stop people in the parking lots because the amendment law provides them freedom.


Sometimes, you can access the cars of police alongside the sidewalks. At these spots, you can take their photographs without restrictions.

It is a public area, and many people carry out photography. In addition, during night operations, people jump onto these sidewalks.

They stand there to observe the overall incidence. The police department does not determine the number of photographs.

You can do it without restriction on the sidewalk.  

Beach and streets

Beach and streets are public places that provide freedom to the citizens, and they capture pictures of police cars. In street crimes, officers park their vehicles in the middle.

They leave the lights on, which attracts many walkers. In such circumstances, many people stop to observe the incident.

For evidence, they capture pictures and store them in their mobiles and professional cameras. As a result, on beaches, the crime rate is low.

The incidents are rare, and accidents do not happen frequently. Police vehicles approach the beach, and people take photographs instantly because they have legal rights to this action. 

Things to consider when you take pictures of police cars

Violating judicial laws is a crime, but photographing police automobiles is legal.

Non selective vehicles

Several people take photographs of specific police vehicles. It makes them suspicious, and police officers record them.

Also, it shows their secretive agenda, which makes them suspect. To avoid these problems, you can perform this action without being secretive.

Also, you can take photographs of different automobiles instead of 1 to 2 cars. Openly, you can carry out this action which keeps you less suspicious.

You cannot be secretive because it can lead to legal offenses. 

Injured people inside cars

You cannot take photographs of police vehicles when they have injured people. During this photography, you cannot avoid capturing the injured individuals, which reduces their privacy.

It affects the privacy protocols, and the cop does not allow it. Therefore, it is unethical, and you should avoid it.

You cannot carry out the photography of these people who have suffered an accident. Also, you cannot post them on social centers because it affects their privacy protocols.

After recovery, they can complain about you, which leads to fines and judicial problems. 

Station premises and moving car

The police station is not a public location, and it restricts the photography of cop cars when they park inside the premises. Therefore, out of this area, you are free for photography.

You cannot enter the premises because it disturbs the privacy of cops and makes them offensive. Similarly, you cannot take photographs of police vehicles for even a private record.

You cannot utilize the flash of your mobile or camera when their automobiles are moving. The flashlight can distract the cop and driver. 

It can cause a crash, and officers can prosecute you for violating privacy rules. You cannot take photographs of their moving vehicles for even a private record. 

What are the requirements for taking pictures of police cars?

Sometimes, the police stop the public from taking photographs of cop cars. In such circumstances, you cannot question the cop.

You cannot consider it harassment and follow their instructions. However, you can leave the spot when the cop lets you free.

In such circumstances, you can avoid any offense and confrontation. Also, always try to avoid conflicts with the cop.

You can leave the old spot and take photographs from a few meters away. However, you cannot obstruct justice and police operations.

Also, you cannot argue with the cop because it leads to punishment. Following their instructions is better because it protects you from sudden penalties and other judicial issues. 

Can police seize your camera and delete pictures of cars?

Police cannot take or seize your camera because you have the right to take pictures of cop cars in public areas. Cop cannot delete the video recordings and pictures.

Officers face judicial troubles when they delete photographs in anger. Officers need a particular warrant to take your professional camera. 

Without a warrant, the officers cannot view the photographs. However, in a few cases, the court allows the seizing of cameras through proper procedures.

These pictures have criminal evidence, which is beneficial for judicial departments.

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