Body Worn Cameras

 

Body Worn Camera

Policy

Body Worn Camera Technology

1.Purpose

  1. The body-worn camera (BWC) is an “on-the-body” audio and video recording system assigned to an officer as an additional means of documenting specific incidents in the field.  The purpose of this policy is to establish procedures related to the use, management, storage and retrieval of the data stored on the department-issued BWC.  Specific uses of the BWC are:

i.To capture crimes in-progress, whether perpetrated against the officer or the community and to maintain this evidence for presentation in court.

ii.To document initial police response, the discovery of evidentiary items and the actions of the police pursuant to an investigation including calls for service or self-initiated police contacts.

iii.To mitigate potentially confrontational interactions with members of the public through the presence of the BWC.

iv.To prevent and resolve complaints made against officers during the course of their police duties.

v.To serve in training and performance feedback, ensuring the professionalism of all Blue River Police Officers.

2.Definitions

  1. Event Mode: Once activated by pressing the EVENT button, the BWC saves the recorded buffered video and continues to record both audio and video.
  2. Evidence Transfer Manager (ETM): Docking unit used to recharge and upload previously recorded audio and video (stored media) from the BWC. 
  3. BWC System Administrator: The Court Clerk will maintain the integrity and efficiency of the data management and file retention systems.

3.Policy

  1. There are many situations where the activation of the BWC is appropriate and/or required and this policy is not intended to describe every possible circumstance.  It is understood that not all situations will clearly start out as necessitating documentation by the BWC nor will all recorded events have a clear ending for when the BWC is no longer required.  Officers are expected to follow departmental policy and procedure, utilizing ethical and legal discretion as well as good judgement when activating and deactivating the BWC.
  2. It is recognized there are certain circumstances where officers in a proactive (non-dispatched) capacity may become involved in a situation requiring immediate action to prevent injury, make an arrest and/or prevent the destruction of evidence or escape.  When these situations occur, officers must activate the BWC, unless doing so places them or others in jeopardy.  If the immediate activation of the BWC is not feasible due to an immediate risk to the safety of the officer or others, the officer will activate the BWC at the first available opportunity after the immediate threat has been addressed.

i.Required Activation

  1. Officers will place the BWC into Event mode after being dispatched, prior to arriving to the following calls for service, and prior to any officer initiated contacts involving actual or potential violations of the law including:
    1. Traffic stops
    2. Pedestrian, citizen and/or vehicle contacts
    3. All calls requiring the presence of a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) officer
    4. Reported weapons calls
    5. All calls involving suicidal individuals
    6. When engaging in a foot chase (if the BWC was not placed in Event mode prior to the foot chase, officers are required to place the BWC into Event mode as soon as the situation has stabilized and it is safe to do so)
    7. Any encounter that becomes adversarial
    8. When engaging in a forced entry
    9. To assist in documenting warrantless or consensual searches of individuals, vehicles, buildings and other places

i.The BWC will be utilized to record the request and consent.  This recording is intended to enhance a documented consent; it is not intended to replace the use of the Consent to Search form.

ii.The existence of the recorded request will be documented in the officer’s statement.

iii.The BWC can be used to record the search itself.

  1. To assist in documenting an individual’s Miranda Advisement

i.The BWC will be utilized to record the advisement and the subject’s responses when practical.  This recording is intended to enhance a documented consent.  It is not intended to replace the use of Juvenile Advisement/Waiver Form or the Advisement Form.

ii.The existence of a recorded advisement will be documented in the officer’s statement.

  1. All arrests and/or citations
  2. Any situation that the officer believes the use of the BWC would be appropriate or would provide valuable documentation if not already activated per policy.
  3. Once placed in Event mode, the BWC will remain on and not be turned off unless the initial incident that caused the activation has stabilized; upon request of the victim; or as ordered by a supervisor.  For the purposes of this section, an incident is considered stabilized when the initial police response or exchange of communication related to police enforcement activities has transitioned to a controlled and orderly investigation.
    1. Officers will document the reason that the BWC has been deactivated in the form of a recorded announcement on the BWC prior to deactivation.
  4. Restricted use of the BWC system and/or stored media

i.Officers will only use a BWC that has been approved and issued by the Town of Blue River.  The use of personal video recorders is prohibited.

ii.All audio, images and media associated with the BWC are the property of the Town of Blue River and these items are not to be copied, released or disseminated in any form or manner outside the parameters of this policy without the expressed written consent of the Town Administrator or Board of Trustees.  Under no circumstances will any employee of the Town of Blue River make a personal copy of any recorded event.

iii.Under no circumstances, except those instances involving an investigation of department personnel, will a conversation between department employees be recorded without all parties to the conversation being aware of the fact that it is being recorded.  Conversations that are not required to be captured as evidence in the furtherance of completing a police report and/or subsequent police investigation will not be recorded.

iv.The BWC will not be activated in places where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists unless the activation is for the purpose of official law enforcement activity such as a call for service or if the activation is required policy.

v.Officers are not authorized to playback BWC recorded media for citizen viewing.

4.Officer Responsibilities

  1. Officers will not use the BWC system until they have successfully completed the required training.
  2. Officers will ensure the following when assigned a BWC at the beginning of each shift.

i.Officers are responsible for the care and maintenance of the BWC assigned to them.  The BWC is to be operated and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations.  If an officer has BWC equipment that is not functioning or appears to be damaged/broken, they will immediately notify their supervisor.

ii.The BWC will be properly affixed upon the officer’s uniform in accordance with departmental regulations and manufacturer’s guidelines.  The camera will only be mounted on the officer’s uniform with the department approved shirt.  Any modification to the BWC unit or mounting is prohibited.  Each officer will ensure that their camera is positioned correctly and verify the camera position by use of the viewer.  The BWC will be worn for the entire shift.

iii.In order to record all situations required by this policy, the officer must maintain the BWC in a constant state of operational readiness.  Operational readiness means that the BWC has adequate battery life/available storage, remains properly affixed to the officer’s uniform and is ready for operation.

  1. Officers will document the use of the BWC within reports, citations, log sheets, arrest book-ins, and/or street checks within the first line of any text entry.
  2. Officers are encouraged to notify the public that the BWC is activated and recording.  Under most circumstances, notification has shown to diffuse incidents.  However, there may be times that this is impractical or that the notification could diminish lines of communication.  Officer discretion should be utilized and generally favor notification over non-notification.
  3. Officers are authorized to review their own BWC recording when preparing official written documentation of a specific event.  Officers may only review recordings from their assigned BWC.  The viewing will be utilized as a tool when completing written reports to ensure accuracy. 
  4. Prior to going off-duty, officers will place the BWC into the Evidence Transfer Manager (ETM) for charging and uploading of all stored media.  The BWC will not be removed from the ETM until the media has been fully uploaded and the battery is fully charged.

5.BWC System Administrator Responsibilities

  1. The BWC system administrator is responsible for:

i.Ensuring that officers are trained in the use of the BWC system and equipment prior to issuance.

ii.Ensuring the BWC equipment meets the standards and requirements of the Town of Blue River.

iii.Providing administrative support with regard to the BWC system.

iv.Assigning personnel for the purpose of “sharing” BWC digital media evidence with both the Town Prosecutor and Town Attorney’s Office.  All requests for evidence will be in writing from the respective personnel.

  1. Requests from the Town Prosecutor’s Office or Town Attorney’s Office:
    1. All BWC digital media evidence will be shared with the Town Prosecutor and Attorney’s Office once cases have been accepted for filing in court.

v.Assisting in data collection reporting.  These reports include, but are not limited to, monthly usage audits, video storage audits, viewing audits and other audits as requested.

vi.Provide technical support for malfunctioning BWC equipment and facilitate all warranty repairs with the vendor.

6.Data Management and File Retention/Disclosure

  1. All recorded BWC media will be uploaded and retained in accordance with the current retention schedule.  The retention of all BWC media will comply will comply with all applicable State of Colorado statutory requirements regarding criminal justice record management and evidence retention and will be based upon the current Town of Blue River Retention Guidelines.  All BWC media will be purged from the system in accordance with the current retention schedule.
  2. Access to all BWC stored media will be restricted to authorized users and the viewing of any BWC footage will be restricted to legitimate law enforcement or administrative purposes.
  3. Any request for BWC media made from outside the Town of Blue River Departments, including other law enforcement agencies will comply with both the records disclosure and records management policies of the Town.

7.Violations

  1. Failure to adhere to the recording requirements of this policy will result in the following discipline:

i.1st violation in a 12-month period: Written Reprimand

ii.2nd violation in a 12-month period: 1 fined day

iii.3rd violation in a 12-month period is considered a repeated violation and will generate a formal disciplinary case

iv.Purposeful, flagrant or repeated violations will result in more severe disciplinary action.  At any time during review, if deemed necessary, violations can be removed from the scheduled discipline above and transitioned to a formal investigation governed by the discipline matrix.