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AGO Opinions with Topic: COMMUNICATIONS
AGO 1980 No. 20 >  October 10, 1980
RECORDING OF EMERGENCY PHONE CALLS TO A POLICE AGENCY (1) Under the provisions of chapter 9.73 RCW, the "incoming phone calls" exception in RCW 9.73.090(1)(a) does permit a police agency to record those incoming calls which are not of an "emergency" nature(2) Assuming the foregoing, however, care must be taken in applying the "incoming phone calls" exception in RCW 9.73.090(1)(a) where the call is received by a police agent who has deliberately induced a criminal suspect, not yet arrested or formally charged, to make an incoming call to the police agency; there, wherever the spirit or the letter of the statute dictates taped mutual consent or judicial authorization prior to recording a telephone conversation with a criminal suspect, the "incoming calls" exception could well be held inapplicable even if single party consent is present.(3) The several statutory exceptions to the Privacy Act set forth in RCW 9.73.030(2), RCW 9.73.090(1)(a), RCW 9.73.090(1)(b) and RCW 9.73.090(2) do not overlap each other in such a way as to render any such exception(s) totally duplicative of another and therefore unnecessary and superfluous.
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