Law enforcement reacts to Ring's new restriction on requesting doorbell video

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Thursday, January 25, 2024
Police react to Ring's new video request restriction
Law enforcement reacts to Ring's new restriction on requesting doorbell video

BROOMALL, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Amazon-owned Ring announced it will no longer be allowing police to request doorbell footage from users, a move that privacy experts are praising.

But some members of law enforcement are speaking out against it.

Previously, police departments were able to request footage from users in the Neighbors app. But Amazon says officers will no longer be able to do so without a search warrant.

Some police chiefs in Delaware County say this move could slow down investigations.

"Here was the vehicle in question," said Prospect Park Police Chief David Madonna, showing a doorbell video of a recent arson in the borough.

READ MORE: Law enforcement speaking out against Ring's new restriction on requesting doorbell video

Ring will stop allowing police departments to request doorbell camera footage from users.

"It's crucial for every investigation we do," he said of surveillance footage.

He says this Ring video was critical in solving the arson case, which happened last November. This isn't the only time his department has used home surveillance.

"We are constantly going to people's homes asking them to check their Ring for us, cognizant of the fact that they have certain rights," said Madonna. "In investigations where seconds count and now you're delaying that for hours, days, even longer. It's impactful."

The move is being praised by privacy experts, but some members of law enforcement are skeptical.

"It's image preservation for them," said Chief Brandon Graeff from Marple Township police of Amazon. "They can make themselves look good."

Graeff says his detectives made an arrest in a porch pirate crime from December on Canford Drive after stringing together Ring footage from the block.

"It's unbelievably helpful and the footage is so clear and concise. It's better than a lot of surveillance video we get from banks," he said.

Marple police say officers went door to door to get this video. Dora Mulloy says she's glad she turned it over.

"I think that it's very helpful to the police to be able to get that video to solve crimes," said Mulloy.

Ring says it still may share certain videos with police without user consent in some emergency situations, but both privacy experts and law enforcement are wary of that, asking who determines what an emergency is.