Retired Commander Accused of Making Illegal Recordings

Retired Commander Accused of Making Illegal Recordings

( – Most police officers wear bodycams to record their interactions with people when they respond to various situations. However, laws don’t allow them to use the equipment to record people illegally. Yet, a Pennsylvania police department is accusing one former commander of doing just that, and prosecutors have slapped him with four felony charges.

Last October, officers found a bodycam hidden inside an unmarked police vehicle, leading them to investigate how it got there. After reviewing more than a dozen recordings, the Allegheny County Police Department’s General Investigations Unit later said someone had placed that camera to capture “multiple concealed recordings of several Pittsburgh Bureau of Police officers,” according to a Facebook post.

Investigators identified Matthew Lackner, the commander of Zone 2 officers, as the alleged culprit who hid the cameras “in order to illegally record interactions with officers.” On February 23, the district attorney’s office charged him with four counts of interception, disclosure or use of wire, and electronic or oral communications, a felony. Lackner retired from the department during the investigation.

The criminal complaint against Lackner, reported by The Associated Press, alleged that he used 11 of the department’s cameras between the dates of Sept. 27 and Oct. 4 to collect 75 hours of footage. Additionally, he told his officers the surveillance was part of a federal investigation, which proved to be false. Federal authorities denied undertaking any such probe. Apparently, Lackner had told the officers not to mention it again.

Pittsburgh police Chief Larry Scirotto clearly stated that anyone who breaks the department’s trust “is dealt with immediately,” according to the Tribune Review.

The DA provided no motive to explain why the former commander allegedly took such actions, and it’s unclear what, if anything, he was hoping to capture on video. He is not speaking to the press, and calls to his home from outlets were disconnected. The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 1 police union also refused to comment on the case.

Copyright 2024,