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IRE Radio Podcast | Protect and Surveil

If you’ve ever been stopped by police, it’s likely an officer filled out something called a field contact report. Officials say the documents can be useful crime-solving tools, but they also have an unintended side effect: police now have massive digital databases tracking law-abiding citizens. On this episode, Glenn Smith and Andrew Knapp of The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, discuss how they investigated field interview practices across the country.

You can find the podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play. If you have a story you think we should feature on the show, drop us a note at We’d love to hear from you.



Looking for links to the stories, resources and events we discussed on this week's podcast? We've collected them for you.

  • Read “Watched,” The Post & Courier’s investigation into field contact reports.
  • Explore the data the paper collected on Charleston, South Carolina.
  • Find out if you’re in your police department’s database of field contact interviews. The Post & Courier has instructions on how to request this information in every state.
  • Download a list of questions for police departments on field interview/contact cards.
  • Connect with Andrew and Glenn about your state’s data.



Riley Beggin produced this episode. Daniela Vidal is our host. Episode artwork by Blake Nelson. IRE Web Editor Sarah Hutchins edits the podcast. We are recorded in the studios of KBIA at the University of Missouri.



Bootstraps (Podington Bear) / CC BY-NC 3.0

The Summit (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 3.0

Ray Gun - FasterFasterBrighter (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 3.0

Union Hall Melody (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 3.0

Base Camp (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 3.0

Rafter (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 3.0

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