Government Used “Spying” Software On Cops 

( )- Mike Solan, the Seattle Police officer Guild President, claims the Seattle Police Department (SPD) has been secretly reviewing body cam material without alerting the officers or the public to address concerns that have been raised. 

The SPD upper management was caught employing AI software to conduct covert surveillance on the force’s officers and the general public. 

Since 2021, the agency has relied on Truleo’s tools. According to GeekWire, a Chicago startup business built the program first to monitor communications between financial industry professionals. 

The department used the program to examine officers’ body camera video, explicitly looking for problematic policing by evaluating the officers’ words and demeanor. 

Police unions often result in policy changes, and in this case, the discovery of software led to an end to its use. 

Solan said officers must advise the community member that they are video and audio recorded when engaging with them in uniform. 

He added that the third-party AI software would flag, in their view, behaviors that would be held against the officer’s professionalism, such as tone of voice, sarcasm, and vocabulary. He said using the AI technology may have violated their labor agreement. 

Solan admitted that there is a programming bias in AI.  

Even though the Seattle City Council has been lobbying to defund the police since 2020, when over 540 officers, or a third of the force, departed, the council continues criticizing its cops. 

According to Solan, “the department promptly canceled the contract with the third party” when he addressed Adrian Diaz, head of the SPD, about the agency’s use of AI. The union was informed that the “data has been wiped.” 

The issue is that they have secretly gathered the information for the last six months. 

Solan said that the outside organization’s entire board of directors comprises retired police chiefs. When taken in a broader context, it seems like a windfall for former police chiefs hoping to cash in on the accountability movement.