Your medicine tastes a bit bitter, no?

Creative Commons License photo credit: CJ Sorg

In this world of indiscriminating sex offender registries, violent offender registries, lifetime registration, neighborhood notification and posting of pictures, names and offenses online for everyone to see, it was a bit amusing when law enforcement got their collective panties in a wad over a website called Reason Hit and Run explains:

The premise is simple: Sesto wrote to police departments across the country, and obtained a list of the names and badge numbers of their officers. He then posted the names online in a format broken down by state and city, and encouraged users to rate their experiences with individual officers. All of the information he posted was already open to the public. He didn’t post the identities of any undercover officers.

Law enforcement agencies freaked out, saying that making public information available on this website threatened their safety. The site does not post home addresses or information about undercover officers, so that claim seems hollow.

Chief Jerry Dyer, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, voices what sounds like a more honest concern: that officers will face “unfair maligning” by the citizens they serve.

Chief Dyer wants to get legislation passed that would make illegal, which, of course, wouldn’t pass constitutional muster in any court in America.

Oh the irony. It’s coming down in buckets. But that’s not all. Godaddy, the service he chose to host this website, took it down with barely 60 seconds notice for “suspicious activity” and then changed its tune to exceeding bandwith or some such nonsense.

He then took the site to another host, which initially accepted his down payment. Then:

They turned him down. After initial accepting his down payment for hosting services, a RackSpace lawyer sent a letter to Sesto stating that, “We believe that the website to be found at as described to our sales representative could create a risk to the health and safety of law enforcement officers.”

By allowing people to write about their experiences with particular officers? I’m not buying it.

Curiously, police agencies have no problem with Cops Writing Cops, which is a site for cops to trash other cops for not showing them “professional courtesy”.

So a website where cops can complain about, essentially, getting ticketed, arrested and charged for breaking the law is okay, but a website where the public they serve does that is unacceptable.

I’m not saying this website should be used to harass people or disclose their personal information or any such thing (just like the ban on vigilante action using information obtained from sex offender registries), I just think their reaction is funny, that’s all.


13 thoughts on “Your medicine tastes a bit bitter, no?

  1. TexPD4Parity

    I was trying to imagine how I would feel if there was a rate-a-pd website and I don’t think I’d like it much. That being said, I don’t think a site should be pulled just because it causes some personal discomfort. If the information is already publicly available and there’s no personal information like addresses, I’d say folks just need to grow a thicker skin.

  2. TexPD4Parity

    It’s one of those “I can talk about my family, but you can’t” things. I guess what really bothers me about this is that the commercial hosting sites are the gateways to the internet and have the ability to control politically unpopular content.

  3. Terrie

    Is it dumb speech? Most certainly. In my experience, people with negative views are more likely to use such sites to vent, making such sites useless as an actual tool. (Rate my prof sites, for instance, are full of students whining about how they actually had to do a bunch of work and only got a B). But dumb speech =/= dangerous speech.

  4. EdinTally


    I disagree with your example. Rate My Professor is an excellent tool for students. Whether you believe the comments to be truthful or not, at least you can form an opinion based on the information given. What is the totality of the comments left? It’s up the the reader to make that call. At least you have something available to you so that you can make that decision.

    If an officer has negative comments it is unlikely a supervisor will take any action, but a citizen who might otherwise be disrespectful might decide to remain calm if the officer is seen as a “hot head”. In that case, it works to the officers benefit that his rating is poor.

  5. Terrie

    Edin, you may have found it useful. I did not. And the idea that people will know an officer’s rating before they are stopped is absurd.

  6. EdinTally

    Does your not finding it useful mean it isn’t useful? Interesting point of view. Maybe people will know ratings and maybe they won’t. Maybe in the back of an officer’s mind there will be an understanding that his actions might be put out there for the whole world to see. Maybe, maybe not. But I can tell you that Professors are very aware of Rate My Professor.

  7. Gary

    At some point we have to establish boundries. There is way to much information available on the Internet. Good people will continue to do good things with the net and bad people will continue to do worse.

  8. Pingback: Treating Police Officers As Human Beings | RHDefense: The Law Office of Rick Horowitz (559) 233-8886

Leave a Reply