Body-Worn Cameras Policy

Update :2015-11-05 16:51, Writer :admin ,Click:118

Body-Worn Cameras Policy
 
I. BACKGROUND, SCOPE AND PURPOSE
 
A. Body-worn cameras are an effective law enforcement tool that can reduce violent
confrontations and complaints against officers. Body-worn cameras provide additional
documentation of police-public encounters and may be an important tool for collecting
evidence and maintaining public trust.
 
B. This policy is intended to provide officers with instructions on when and how to use body-
worn cameras.
 
C. The Department has adopted the use of body-worn cameras to accomplish several
objectives, including:
 
1. Body-worn cameras allow for accurate documentation of police-public contacts,
arrests, and critical incidents. They also serve to enhance the accuracy of officer
reports and testimony.
2. Audio and video recordings enhance the Department’s ability to review probable
cause for arrest, officer and suspect interaction, and evidence for investigative and
prosecutorial purposes and to provide additional information for officer evaluation and
training.
3. Body-worn cameras may also be useful in documenting crime and accident scenes
or other events that include the confiscation and documentation of evidence or
contraband.
D. The Department recognizes that video images cannot always show the full story nor do
video images capture an entire scene. The use of body-worn cameras does not reduce the
requirement to provide thorough written documentation of an incident. Persons reviewing
recordings must also be cautious before conclusions are reached about what the recordings
show.
 
II. OVERVIEW
 
A. The body-worn cameras should be utilized to (1) collect evidence that can be used in the
prosecution of criminal offenses, (2) record contacts with the public in order to secure
unbiased evidence in connection with investigations, (3) allow for supervisory review to
ensure that department policies and procedures are followed, and (4) capture footage that
would be helpful for training.
 
III. DEFINITIONS
 
A. Body-worn cameras are camera systems designed to be worn by police officers to capture
digital multimedia evidence.
B. Digital Multimedia Evidence or DME consists of all digital recordings, to include but not
limited to audio, video, photographs, and their associated metadata. Metadata includes any
digital identifiers that are captured as part of the actual recording, such as date/time, GPS
coordinates, labeling, etc.
 
IV. LEGAL ISSUES
 
A. Body-worn camera equipment and all data, images, video and metadata captured, recorded,
or otherwise produced by the equipment is the property of the Department. The personal use
of all information recording by body-worn cameras shall only be pursuant to the prior written
approval of the chief.
B. Use of body-worn cameras for any purpose other than in accordance with this policy is
prohibited.
C. All data, images, video and metadata captured by body-worn cameras are subject to state
statutes and City policies regarding retention of records.
 
V. PROCEDURES
 
A. Prior to using a body-worn camera, officers shall receive Department-approved training on
its proper operation and care and the Department’s policy with respect to the use of the body-
worn camera. Additional training shall be provided at periodic intervals to ensure the
continued effective use of the equipment, proper calibration and performance, and to
incorporate changes, updates, or other revisions in policies or equipment.
B. Body-worn cameras and equipment should be used with reasonable care to ensure proper
functioning. Equipment malfunctions shall be brought to the attention of the officer’s
supervisor as soon as possible so that a replacement unit may be assigned. Officers shall
inspect and test body-worn cameras prior to each shift to verify proper functioning, and shall
notify their supervisor of any problems.
C. In the event that a body-worn camera is lost, upon discovery the officer shall immediately
notify his/her supervisor.
D. Officers shall wear body-worn cameras above the midline of their torso and in position
designed to produce an effective recording.
E. Officers shall not use personally-owned body-worn cameras while on duty.
F. Officers assigned a body-worn camera may use the camera at approved off-duty
employment, but only in connection with their Department duties. If used for this purpose, the
officer shall download all DME during their next regularly assigned on-duty shift.
 
VI. OPERATION OF BODY-WORN CAMERAS
 
A. Except as otherwise provided in this policy, officers shall activate body-worn cameras to
record all contacts with citizens in the performance of official duties.
B. Unless the interaction with a citizen is in an undercover assignment, wherever possible
officers should inform individuals that they are being recorded. Officers have no obligation to
stop recording in response to a citizen’s request if the recording is pursuant to an investigation,
arrest, lawful search, or the circumstances clearly dictate that continued recording is
necessary. However, officers should but may evaluate the situation and when appropriate,
honor the citizen’s request. The request to turn the camera off should be recorded, as well as
the officer’s response.
C. Deactivation of the body-worn camera shall occur when:
1. The event has concluded;
2. Victim and/or witness contact has concluded;
3. All persons stopped have been released;
4. Once an arrestee has been placed into a vehicle to be transported to a detention
facility. However, the officer transporting the arrestee to the detention facility shall
keep the officer’s body-worn camera activated until custody of the individual is
transferred to the detention facility.
D. If an officer fails to activate a body-worn camera, or fails to record the entire contact, the
officer shall document the reasons for doing so.
E. Non-Department personnel shall not be allowed to review the recordings unless pursuant to
written consent of the chief.
F. Officers shall not be required to activate body-worn cameras when engaged in
conversations with individuals with whom the officer is in a privileged relationship (e.g.,
spouse, attorney, police peer counselor, labor representative, minister, etc.).
G. Officers shall not edit, alter, erase, duplicate, copy, share, or otherwise distribute in any
manner body-worn camera images and information without the prior written approval of the
chief or the chief’s designee.
H. Officers shall be allowed to review the recordings from their officer-worn body cameras at
any time. To help ensure accuracy and consistency, officers are encouraged to review
recording prior to preparing reports. If the officer is giving a formal statement about the use of
force or if the officer is the subject of a disciplinary investigation, the officer shall (1) have the
option of reviewing the recordings in the presence of the officer’s attorney or labor
representative; and (2) have the right to review recordings from other body-worn cameras
capturing the officer’s image or voice during the underlying incident.
 
I. Body-worn cameras shall not be used to record:
1. Communications with other police personnel.
2. Encounters with undercover officers or informants.
3. When an officer is on break or is otherwise engaged in personal activities.
4. In any location where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as
a restroom, locker room, or break room.
5. When an officer would be recording a patient during a medical or psychological
evaluation by a clinician or similar professional, or during treatment. When recording
in hospitals or other medical facilities, officers shall be careful to avoid recording
persons other than the suspect.
6. Communications made in a psychiatric facility, unless responding to a call
involving a suspect who is thought to be present in the facility.
 
VII. HANDLING OF DIGITAL MULTIMEDIA EVIDENCE
 
A. All files from body-worn cameras shall be securely downloaded no later than the end of the
officer’s shift. Each file shall contain information related to the date, body-worn camera
identifier, and assigned officer.
B. All files from body-worn cameras shall be securely stored in accordance with state records
retention laws and for no longer than useful for purposes of training, or for use in an
investigation or prosecution (including appeals), or for use in resolving a claim, pending
litigation, or disciplinary investigation. In capital punishment prosecutions, files shall be kept
until the alleged offender is no longer under control of a criminal justice agency.
C. It is not the intent of the Department to review DME for the purpose of general
performance review, for routine preparation of performance reports or evaluation, or to
discover policy violations. Supervisors and internal affairs personnel may access DME for
administrative investigations. Other than periodic supervisory reviews to ensure that
equipment is functioning properly, the scope of the review of DME should be limited to the
specific complaint against the officer. Inadvertent discovery of other allegations during this
review shall require the supervisor to articulate the purpose of expanding the scope.
D. Requests for deletion of portions of a recording from a body-worn camera (e.g., in the
event of a privileged or personal recording) must be submitted in writing to the chief in
accordance with state records retention laws.
E. Recordings from body-worn cameras may be shown for training purposes upon completion
of a criminal case. All such use shall be pursuant to the written authority of the chief. Officers
shall be provided with at least thirty days’ notice if recordings intended for use for training
purposes were either made by them or captured their image or voice.
 
VIII. RETENTION AND DESTRUCTION OF DIGITAL MULTIMEDIA EVIDENCE
 
A. The retention and destruction of DME shall be pursuant to state public records retention
laws.
B. All stored DME is subject to release in accordance with the state public records retention
laws. Officers shall be provided with at least one week’s notice of any public requests made to
review DME from their body-worn cameras.
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