Police Body Worn Cameras:

A Policy Scorecard

Updated November 2017

Policy Scorecard

Policy
Available

Officer
Discretion

Personal
Privacy

Officer
Review

Footage
Retention

Footage
Misuse

Footage
Access

Biometric
Use

Purpose

In the wake of high-profile incidents in Ferguson, Staten Island, North Charleston, Baltimore, and elsewhere, law enforcement agencies across the country have rapidly adopted body-worn cameras for their officers. One of the main selling points for these cameras is their potential to provide transparency into some police interactions, and to help protect civil rights, especially in heavily policed communities of color.

But accountability is not automatic. Whether these cameras make police more accountable — or simply intensify police surveillance of communities — depends on how the cameras and footage are used. That’s why The Leadership Conference, together with a broad coalition of civil rights, privacy, and media rights groups, developed shared Civil Rights Principles on Body Worn Cameras. Our principles emphasize that “[w]ithout carefully crafted policy safeguards in place, there is a real risk that these new devices could become instruments of injustice, rather than tools for accountability.”

This scorecard evaluates the body-worn camera policies currently in place in major police departments across the country. Our goal is to highlight promising approaches that some departments are taking, and to identify opportunities where departments could improve their policies.

Methodology

When we initially released our scorecard in November 2015, we examined the body-worn camera policies from 25 local police departments. Since then, we’ve expanded our scorecard to 75 departments, covering all major city police departments in the country that have equipped — or will soon equip — their officers with body cameras.1 We also added departments that have received more than $500,000 in DOJ grant funding to support their camera programs (as indicated by on the scorecard).2 In addition, we included Baton Rouge (LA) and Ferguson (MO) because of the national attention they have received after recent events, and Parker (CO) because of the promising policies they have adopted.

The policy landscape is shifting rapidly: Since our initial release, many departments have updated their policies multiple times based on their early experiences, and others have launched new body camera programs and policies. Our analysis is current as of the “last updated” date on each individual department scorecard. As we become aware of new deployments and policy changes, we will do our best to update our scorecard analysis. If you see anything that looks out of date, please let us know.

Evaluation Criteria

We evaluated each department policy on eight criteria, derived from our Civil Rights Principles on Body Worn Cameras. We believe that these are among the most important factors in determining whether the proper policy safeguards are in place to protect the civil rights of recorded individuals.3

For each factor, we scored department policies on a three level scale. We awarded a policy a green check only if it fully satisfies our criteria — these are the policies that other departments should consider emulating if they are looking to improve their own. A yellow circle means that a policy partially satisfies our criteria, and that the department has room for improvement. A red ex indicates that a policy either does not address the issue, or a policy runs directly against our principles. In cases where the department has not made its policy public, we use a question mark as a placeholder for future review.

Our eight criteria examine whether a department:

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

The department publishes the most recent publicly available version of its policy on its website, in a location that is easy for members of the public to find.
The policy posted on the department’s website either is outdated, or is difficult for members of the public to find.
The department's policy is not available on its website.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

The policy clearly describes when officers must record, and requires officers to provide concrete justifications for failing to record required events.
The policy clearly describes when officers must record, but does not require officers to provide concrete justifications for failing to record required events.
The policy does not clearly describe when officers must record.

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

The policy specifically protects categories of vulnerable individuals (e.g., victims of sex crimes) from being recorded without their informed consent.
The policy mentions the importance of personal privacy, but either offers vague guidance on when not to record, or does not require informed consent from vulnerable individuals.
The policy does not address personal privacy concerns.

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

The policy requires officers to file an initial written report or statement before relevant footage is reviewed, for all incidents.
The policy requires officers to file an initial written report or statement before relevant footage is reviewed, for some incidents.
The policy allows — or even encourages — officers to view relevant footage before filing an initial written report or statement.

Limits Retention of Footage

The policy requires the department to delete unflagged footage within six months.
The policy requires the department to delete unflagged footage — but after more than six months.
The policy does not require the department to delete unflagged footage, or we are unable to determine whether the unflagged footage must be deleted.

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

The policy expressly prohibits both footage tampering and unauthorized access, and indicates that all access to recorded footage will be logged or audited.
The policy expressly prohibits both footage tampering and unauthorized access, but does not indicate that all access to recorded footage will be logged or audited.
The policy does not expressly prohibit both footage tampering and unauthorized access.

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy expressly allows individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view all relevant footage.
The policy expressly allows individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view some relevant footage.
The policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage.

Limits the Use of Biometric Technologies

The policy sharply limits the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to identify individuals in footage.
The policy places some limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to identify individuals in footage.
The policy places no limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to identify individuals in footage.

Of course, a department’s policy is only as good as how it is put into practice. Departments must ensure that their stated policies are followed and, when department personnel violate those policies, that the appropriate disciplinary measures are taken.

Findings

Departments are moving quickly to deploy body-worn cameras, and are experimenting with a wide range of policies across each of the dimensions we examined. Departments that have a strong policy in one area often falter in another — every department has room to improve. At the same time, we are pleased to find examples of strong policy language currently in use for nearly all of our criteria. The positive policy language highlighted on this site should serve as a model to departments looking to improve their policies.

We found that:

  1. We define a department as a “major city department” if it’s a member of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association. There are 69 member departments in the Association, including the 50 most populous cities in the United States. 

  2. In September 2015, the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) awarded a total of $20 million in grants, to 73 local and tribal law enforcement agencies, to expand the use of body-worn cameras. OJP announced additional rounds of grantees for FY 2016 and FY 2017. Grantee departments are required to establish a plan for implementing the program and create a robust training policy before purchasing the cameras. OJP expects that grantee department’s “policies and practices should at a minimum increase transparency and accessibility, provide appropriate access to information, allow for public posting of policy and procedures, and encourage community interaction and relationship building.” 

  3. Among other factors that we considered including in this scorecard: prohibit the recording of First Amendment protected activities; prohibit the use of cameras not owned by the department; the quality of community input during the department’s policymaking process; and factors related to officer discipline and training. We may include one or more of these factors in future versions of the scorecard. 

Notable Policy Provisions

Example Provisions that Protect Civil Rights

While no single department satisfied all of our criteria, many departments have adopted strong policies in one or more individual criterion. Below, we highlight the leading examples we’ve found from across the country, and we hope that departments looking to strengthen civil rights protections in their body camera policies will emulate these examples.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

The department publishes the most recent publicly available version of its policy on its website, in a location that is easy for members of the public to find.
San Francisco PD has a webpage dedicated to the development of its BWC policy, which provides details about the department’s biweekly BWC working group meetings. The group publishes the latest iteration of the draft policy for each meeting.</div>

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

The policy clearly describes when officers must record, and requires officers to provide concrete justifications for failing to record required events.
Chicago PD provides officers with a clear list of situations that must be recorded. (§V.E)
  • E. Department members assigned a BWC:
    • 1. will activate the system to event mode to record the entire incident for all:
      • a. routine calls for service;
      • b. investigatory stops;
      • c. traffic stops;
      • d. traffic control;
      • e. foot and vehicle pursuits;
      • f. emergency driving situations;
      • g. emergency vehicle responses to in-progress or just-occurred dispatches where fleeing suspects or vehicles may be captured on video leaving the crime scene;
      • h. high-risk situations, including search warrants;
      • i. situations that may enhance the probability of evidence-based prosecution;
      • j. situations that the member, through training and experience, believes to serve a proper police purpose, for example, recording the processing of an uncooperative arrestee;
      • k. any encounter with the public that becomes adversarial after the initial contact; and
      • l. any other instance when enforcing the law.
  • NOTE: Department members responding as assist units will activate the BWC for all of the above-listed incidents.
Chicago PD allows officers to turn off their cameras “when further recording of the incident will not serve a proper police purpose.” Officers must state the reason for deactivation on camera before turning it off. If an officer fails to record a required event, the officer must justify this failure on camera after the fact. (§V.G)
  • G. During the recording of an incident, Department members will not disengage the BWC until the entire incident has been recorded or when further recording of the incident will not serve a proper police purpose. In the event of an arrest, the incident is concluded when the subject is transported to the district station.

  • Department members will:
    • 1. verbally state the justification of any disengagement, including requests from the individuals listed in item V-E-2 of the directive, of the BWC system prior to the entire incident being recorded before disengaging the BWC, unless impractical or impossible.
    • 2. in instances when the Department member failed to record an event listed in item V-E1 of this directive, document the event by initiating the BWC to even mode and state the:
      • a. type of incident;
      • b. event number; and
      • c. reason for not recording the event.

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

The policy specifically protects categories of vulnerable individuals (e.g., victims of sex crimes) from being recorded without their informed consent.
Philadelphia PD requires officers to turn off their cameras upon the request of a crime victim, and in certain sensitive locations and circumstances. (§§4-B, 4-C, 7-F)
  • 4-B. . . . [O]fficers shall deactivate a Body-Worn Camera prior to the conclusion of an incident or event under the following circumstances:
    • 1. Prior to entering the residence of any individual, unless prior consent is provided and recorded with the Body-Worn Camera,
    • 2. When requested by a crime victim, witness or informant, who request not to be recorded, officers shall:
      • a. Balance the value of obtaining a recording with the reluctance of a victim, witness or informant to provide information while being recorded.
      • b. Officers should use discretion in making the decision.
    • 3. When the recording would capture gruesome images, persons nude that are not involved in criminal activity or when private areas of the human body are exposed and there is no legitimate law enforcement need to capture the images.
    • 4. When entering a religious institution, during services.
    • 5. When entering a hospital room or private patient area in a hospital.
  • 4-C. PROHIBITED RECORDING AND ACTIONS
    • 1. Body-Worn Cameras shall not be used or activated to:
      • . . .
      • b. In places where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists (i.e., locker rooms, dressing rooms or restrooms).
      • c. Record conversations with confidential informants and undercover officers.
      • d. During any strip searches. . . .
    • 2. Officers shall not lead a person to believe the BWC has been deactivated when in fact, the BWC is left active.
  • . . .
  • 7-F. Prior to entering the residence of any individual, unless prior consent is provided and recorded with the Body-Worn Camera, the Body-Worn Camera shall be deactivated.
    • 1. Once inside a residence, if practical, officers shall request permission to record. If permission is granted, the Body-Worn Camera shall be activated and the resident will again be asked for consent to record.
    • 2. If at any time a resident rescinds consent to record while in a residence, officers shall immediately or as soon as practical, deactivate the Body-Worn Camera.
    • 3. Officers shall state that they were requested to deactivate the camera.

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

The policy requires officers to file an initial written report or statement before relevant footage is reviewed, for all incidents.
The policy requires officers to file an initial written report or statement before relevant footage is reviewed, for some incidents.
While we are not fully satisfied with any department’s policy in this category, Oakland provides an example that we believe should be applied to all footage and in all situations.
Oakland PD requires officers to file an initial written statement before relevant footage is reviewed, for some critical incidents, like when officers use force that results in death or serious bodily injury. Oakland PD institutes a two-step process. First, before viewing the footage, the involved officer must submit an initial report to the investigator. Second, once the initial report is approved, the officer may view the footage, and be given an opportunity to supplement the initial report (presumably, with a clear delineation of the parts of the report that were written before and after footage was reviewed). (§§IV.A.2-3)
  • IV. VIEWING [CAMERA] VIDEO FILES
    • Viewing [camera] video files is authorized, restricted or prohibited as follows . . . :

    • A. Level 1 Use of Force, Level 1 Pursuit or In-Custody Death
      • . . .
      • 2. No personnel involved in or a witness to the incident may view any audio/video recordings prior to being interviewed by the appropriate investigative unit and receiving command approval.
      • 3. Once a member’s report(s) has been submitted and approved and the member has been interviewed by the appropriate investigator, the investigator will show the member his/her audio/video. This will occur prior to the conclusion of the interview process[.]
      • Personnel will be given the opportunity to provide additional information to supplement their statement and may be asked additional questions by the investigators.

Limits Retention of Footage

The policy requires the department to delete unflagged footage within six months.
Dallas PD automatically deletes unflagged footage after 90 days. (§332.06.B)
  • B. All video will be maintained for a minimum of 90 days. If the video has not been categorized as one which is to be retained it will automatically be deleted after 90 days.
Las Vegas Metropolitan PD deletes unflagged footage in exactly 45 days.
  • Category Retention Schedule
  • The retention period begins from the date the BWC recording was labeled or categorized. Unlabeled or uncategorized recordings will be auto-deleted at 45 days. . . .

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

The policy expressly prohibits both footage tampering and unauthorized access, and indicates that all access to recorded footage will be logged or audited.
Omaha PD prohibits the deletion, alteration, and download of footage without prior authorization. (§§VII.B-D)
  • B. Employees shall not erase, alter, reuse, edit, copy, share, modify, or tamper with BWC recordings without prior written authorization and approval of the Chief of Police or designee.
  • C. Officers shall not record, download, or otherwise transfer BWC recordings onto any type of personal recording devices, including but not limited to personal cellular phones, video recorders, tables, etc.
  • D. To prevent damage to, or alteration of, original Recorded Media, such media shall not be copied, viewed, or otherwise inserted into any device not approved by the BWC System Administrator.
The Omaha PD policy also indicates that access to recorded footage will be audited by a system administrator for unauthorized access. (§IV.D)
  • D. The BWC System Administrator(s) will periodically audit BWC Recorded Media to make certain only authorized users are accessing the data for legitimate and authorized purposes. . . .

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy expressly allows individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view all relevant footage.
Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia expressly allows a recorded individual to request to view footage. The policy also, commendably, clearly lay out the process of requesting to view relevant footage, and is one of the few policies we have seen that does so. (§V.F)
  • F. Requests for BWC Recordings by Subjects
    • 1. The subject of a BWC recording, his or her legal representative, or the subject’s parent or legal guardian if the subject is a minor, may request to schedule a time to view the BWC recording at the police district where the incident occurred.
    • 2. Members shall be aware that subjects may request to view BWC recordings online or at the district station.
      • a. Subjects may submit requests for recordings online athttp://mpdc.dc.gov/page/body-worn-camera-citizen-viewing- process or by submitting a Request to Review Body-Worn Camera Recording (see Attachment C).
      • b. Members who receive requests to view BWC recordings by subjects or their representatives at the district station shall immediately notify their district’s BWC Unit Coordinator, in writing, and forward requests to the MPD FOIA Office at mpd.foia@dc.gov.
    • 3. The assigned MPD FOIA specialist shall conduct a privacy review of the video and determine if the un-redacted BWC recording violates the individual privacy rights of any other subjects of the recording and shall notify the BWC Unit Coordinator if the recording or a portion of the recording is eligible for viewing.
    • 4. Upon notification from the FOIA Office that a recording is eligible for viewing, the BWC Unit Coordinator shall review the recording and confirm that the viewing of the recording would not compromise the safety of any other subject.
    • 5. The BWC Unit Coordinator shall notify the subject whether the recording is available for viewing.
      • a. In cases where the recording is available, the BWC Unit Coordinator shall schedule a suitable time for the subject, his or her legal representative, or the subject’s parent or legal guardian to view the recording under the following conditions:
        • (1) The subject, his or her legal representative, or the subject’s parent or legal guardian if the subject is a minor shall provide a valid government-issued photographic identification [e.g., a driver’s license, passport, green card (U.S. Permanent Resident Card) or military identification]. . .
        • (2) The subject, his or her legal representative, or the subject’s parent or legal guardian must sign the PD Form 99-B (Consent to View Body-Worn Camera Recording) (Attachment D) prior to viewing the recording.
        • (3) The viewing must occur in the presence of the BWC Unit Coordinator.
        • (4) Under no circumstances shall the subject, his or her legal representative, or the subject’s parent or legal guardian:
          • (a) Be allowed to use any recording device to make a copy of the BWC recording.
          • (b) Be provided a copy of the recording. Subjects, or their representatives, may contact the FOIA Office to request copies of the recording.
  • ...
  • 3. Notwithstanding the provisions of this order:
  • (1) A complainant’s request to view a BWC recording prior to initiating a complaint is voluntary. Whether or not the complainant chooses to request to view the recording shall in no way be considered by MPD if the complainant chooses to proceed with the complaint. . . .

Limits the Use of Biometric Technologies

The policy sharply limits the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to identify individuals in footage.
Baltimore PD limits the use of facial recognition technologies to perform broad searches of BWC data. A narrow exception is made for analyzing particular incidents using such technologies. (Review of Recordings §9)
  • Review of Recordings
  • . . .
  • 9. BWC data shall not:
    • 9.1. Be used to create a database or pool of mug shots;
    • 9.2. Be used as fillers in photo arrays; or
    • 9.3. Be searched using facial recognition software.
  • EXCEPTION: This subsection does not prohibit the BPD from using a recognition software to analyze the recording of a specific incident when a supervisory member has reason to believe that a specific suspect, witness, or person in need of assistance was recorded.

Department Policies

Alameda County Sheriff’s Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $1,000,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2016
Last updated: November 16, 2017. Is this policy now publicly available? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) implemented its first body-worn camera (BWC) program in 2012. In December of 2015, ACSO conducted a study to evaluate BWC policies, guidelines, recommendations, and technologies as part of an effort to align under Department of Justice (DOJ) practices. In 2015, ACSO appears to have solicited community feedback on the program through a survey. In 2016, DOJ awarded ACSO $1 million to expand and improve its existing body-worn pilot program. On May 8, 2017, ACSO entered into a contract with Axon to purchase 1,200 body-worn cameras.

While officers are wearing body cameras in the neighborhoods of Alameda County and the community has been debating the policies governing the program, the department does not make its policy public. We obtained a copy of a policy, revised on March 15, 2017, from a reporter.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Alameda County’s policy requires officers to record certain categories of law enforcement encounters, and has additional guidance for officers assigned to the Detention and Corrections Division. (§§IV.D.5,E)

The policy says that officers “should” explain the reason for deactivating their cameras, but does not appear to require them to do so. (§IV.G.3)

However, the policy does require officers to provide concrete justifications for activation delays or non-activation. (§IV.H.5)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Alameda County’s policy mentions the importance of privacy, recommend officers advise people they are being recorded, and makes allowances for a variety of sensitive situations. Members may, but are not required to, stop video recording upon the request of a member of the public. (§IV.E.8,G)

The policy also states that officers should obtain consent before interviewing crime victims and witnesses. (§IV.G.5)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Alameda County allows offers to review their own footage to prepare official reports. (§IV.H.4)

In use-of-force incidents, supervisors are instructed to take possession of the BWC, but the policy still does not appear to prohibit officers from reviewing footage prior to making a statement in those cases. (§IV.I.4-5)

Limits Retention of Footage

Alameda County states that “data will be retained in compliance with governmental standards, guidelines and applicable laws,” for a minimum of three years. After that point, data may be destroyed, but the policy does not appear to require footage deletion. (§IV.J.3)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Alameda County prohibits unauthorized access and notes that access to the system is logged, but the policy does not appear to explicitly prohibit footage tampering. (§IV.J.4)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage, and relies on a separate public records policy. (§IV.D.3)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

The policy does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Albuquerque Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $250,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2015
Last updated: October 3, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Albuquerque PD publishes its BWC policy on its website, in the department’s General Orders Manual. Order 2-8 is titled “Use of On-Body Recording Devices.” The latest version is dated June 2, 2017, and is due for review on June 2, 2018.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Albuquerque PD requires officers to record certain categories of citizen contact. The policy also includes an “Officer’s Quick Guide: When Do I Record” page that the department encourages officers to print and keep. (§§2-8-5.B.1,6,8)

The policy requires officers to provide justifications for stopping record in certain limited circumstances. (§§2-8-5.B.5,11-12)

Albuquerque PD also requires officers to provide concrete justifications when they fail to record required events. (§2-8-5.F.b)

Notably, the department requires supervisors to refer officers for investigation if they “intentionally or repeatedly fail to activate” their BWCs. (§2-8-5.F.2.g)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Albuquerque PD mentions the importance of personal privacy in its policy. (§§2-8-5.B.6-7)

The policy recommends officers inform people they are being recorded, and are required to inform arrestees they are being recording, but does not require officers receive consent to do so. (§§2-8-5.B.2-3)

The policy allows individuals to request that officers stop recording, but gives officers discretion to continue if they deem it necessary. (§2-8-5.B.11)

The policy does not specifically protect categories of vulnerable individuals (e.g., victims of sex crimes) from being recorded without their informed consent.

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Albuquerque PD allows offers to review their own footage to “assist quality and accuracy in their reports.” (§2-8-5.D.2)

In use-of-force incidents, the policy refers to a different section of the departments general orders; this section also does not appear to restrict involved officers from viewing footage prior to writing reports or making statements.

Limits Retention of Footage

Albuquerque PD specifies a minimum retention period, and refers to a video category called “120 Day Delete,” but does not otherwise appear to require footage deletion. (§§2-8-5.E.5;G.5)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Albuquerque PD allows footage access only for “authorized purposes.” (§§2-8-5.D.3-4;G.4)

The policy indicates the system retains audit trails; however, the policy does not appear to explicitly prohibit tampering. (§2-8-5.G.3.d)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Albuquerque PD does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage; it make reference to a separate policy governing records and public disclosure. (§2-8-5.G.1)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Albuquerque PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Arlington Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 11, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Arlington PD has a section of their website specifically dedicated to its body camera program, although it isn’t easily accessible on the homepage of their website. The department’s BWC policy is embedded within a list of Commonly Asked Questions, dated September 20, 2015.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Arlington PD provides officers with a clear list of situations that must be recorded and clearly states that the “officer shall document why a recording was not made, was interrupted, or was terminated” in instances where the officer failed to activate the BWC, record the entire contact, or interrupts the recording. (§C.2)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

In general, Arlington PD prohibits recording in places where individuals have a “reasonable expectation of privacy, such as a residence” but offers vague evidence on when not to record vulnerable individuals. (§C.2.b)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

The policy allows officers to view the recording prior to making any statement. (§C.3.f)

Limits Retention of Footage

The policy states that “non-evidentiary video and audio recordings” are retained for 90 days. However, the policy does not appear to expressly require that footage be deleted. (§C.5.c)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Arlington PD prohibits both footage tampering and unauthorized access “without prior approval.” However, the policy does not indicate that all access to recorded footage will be logged or audited. (§C.3.d, §C.4.b, §B, §C.6.f.5)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing complaints to view relevant footage. Instead, supervisors are allowed to review BWC recordings to resolve complaints. (§C.7.c, §C.5.a)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

SDPD PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Atlanta Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 3, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Atlanta PD publishes its BWC policy on its website as part of its Standard Operating Procedure. It can be reached by searching “body worn cameras” from the department homepage. The current policy was made effective January 15, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Atlanta PD requires officers to record all calls for service and law enforcement interactions with the public, among other events. (§§2; 4.3.1-5, 4.3.8)

The policy also requires officers to justify non-activation or interruption of recordings. (§4.3.6)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Atlanta mentions reasonable expectations of privacy, but then strangely notes that officers still may record in those events since “they occur in the presence of the law enforcement officer.” However, the policy does go on to prohibit recordings in dressing rooms, locker rooms and restrooms, and to avoid recording “exposed genitals or other sexually sensitive areas.” (§§4.3.1; 4.4.1)

The policy does attempt to protect the privacy of recorded individuals by exempting recordings from The Georgia Open Records Act when reasonable expectation of privacy is met. (§4.9.1)

The policy does not specifically protect vulnerable individuals or victims, or allow subjects to opt-out of recordings by request.

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Officers may review footage before writing their reports for all incidents, except in the cases of use of force. In use of force incidents, employees are explicitly required to complete a report prior to reviewing footage or audio, and include a statement to that effect. (§§4.3.9; 4.9.2-4)

Limits Retention of Footage

Atlanta PD notes that the retention period for “citizen contact” footage (which we assume to be non-evidentiary) is 180 days. However, it is not clear whether this is a minimum or maximum retention period, and the policy does not appear to expressly require that footage be deleted. (§4.8.1)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Atlanta PD prohibits tampering with both cameras and footage, as well as “destroying any evidentiary recording produced.” (§4.5)

Access appears to be limited to users given permission by the BWC Compliance Administrator, and employees who view footage must place a note on the file justifying their reasoning for accessing it. (§§4.9.5-6; 4.11.1)

The policy also provides that footage will be audited. While the language does not make clear whether these audits also review access or change logs, the relevant clauses, when read together with the clause requiring employees to document and justify viewing of footage, imply that access is indeed audited. (§§4.10.2; 4.10.4; 4.11.2)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Atlanta PD does not expressly allow recorded individuals to view footage.

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Atlanta PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Aurora Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
 Last updated: October 6, 2017. Is this policy now publicly available? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Aurora PD publishes its BWC policy on its website as a part of its Directives Manual in the chapter titled “Police Technical Systems.” The most recent policy was made effective on October 3, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Aurora PD requires officers to activate cameras “as soon as practical” during citizen contact or at the discretion of the officer when the determine footage should be captured for “evidentiary purposes.” (§16.4.3)

The policy also describes when officers may turn off cameras. When officers deactivate recording prior to the completion of an event, they must justify it verbally on camera before deactivation. (§16.4.5)

While officers must document whether body worn cameras were used and failures to record are tracked, Aurora PD does not require officers to provide concrete justifications when they fail to record required events. (§16.4.9,12)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

While vague, Aurora PD’s policy does mention privacy concerns, prohibiting recording in “public places where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists” except for “official law enforcement activity.” The policy also encourages officers to be cautious in healthcare facilities, and provides additional guidance for recording within private property. (§16.4.4)

Citizens may request that cameras be deactivated, and officers have discretion as to whether to do so. The policy does not provide stronger protections for vulnerable individuals like victims of sex crimes. (§16.4.5)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

The policy encourages officer to view footage when preparing reports. (§16.4.9)

Following critical incidents, the policy dictates that supervisors or detectives should take custody of cameras, but does not restrict officers from viewing footage prior to making a statement. (§16.4.6)

Limits Retention of Footage

Aurora PD specifies a minimum retention period of 90 days, and mentions, but does not appear to require, footage deletion. (§16.4.10)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Aurora PD expressly prohibits employees from erasing or altering BWC recordings, and states that employees may not use recordings for personal use or distribute footage. (§16.4.9-10)

While the policy alludes to unauthorized access by prohibiting officers from logging in using someone else’s credentials, it does not appear to otherwise restrict unauthorized access to footage, and does not indicate that access to recorded footage will be logged or audited.

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Aurora PD does not expressly allow recorded individuals to view footage.

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Aurora PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Austin Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $750,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2016
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Austin PD publishes its most recent publicly available BWC policy on its website under a section dedicated to body worn cameras. The latest available version is not dated, although the policy is included in the full Austin Police Department policy manual issued on August 21, 2017. The BWC policy is Policy 303, starting on page 130 of the full manual.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Austin PD requires officers to record in a wide range of law enforcement situations, which it lays out in the policy. The policy also gives officers discretion to activate cameras “anytime they believe its use would be appropriate and/or valuable to document an incident.” (§303.2.1)

Austin PD also provides detailed requirements to officers as to when BWC deactivation is authorized and when BWC system use is not required. (§§303.2.3.a-c; 303.2.5)

Officers must articulate the reasoning for discontinuing recording for privacy reasons or for delayed activation of their BWC during required situations, such as the need to “take immediate action…which may not allow time to activate their BWC.” (§§303.2.1; 303.2.2.b)

The policy does not appear to require justification for failure to record.

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

The policy briefly mentions the need to balance evidence collection with privacy considerations and allows officers to choose to discontinue recording when interviewing witnesses or victims. (§303.2.4)

The policy expressly protects victims. (§303.2.5(d)2)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Austin PD allows officers to view footage before completing their written reports. (§303.4.a.b)

Limits Retention of Footage

Austin PD mandates that recordings should be kept for a minimum of 181 days, but does not specify a maximum retention period or require the department to delete footage. (§303.3.4)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Austin PD expressly prohibits employees from erasing or altering BWC recordings. (§303.2)

Austin PD mentions the existence of unauthorized access to footage or copies of recordings and notes that “authorized persons” may review recordings, but does not expressly prohibit unauthorized access to footage. (§§303.3.3; 303.5)

The policy does not indicate that access to recorded footage will be logged or audited.

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Austin PD does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view footage, and refers to “applicable laws” to govern the release of recordings. (§303.5.6)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Austin PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Baltimore Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 10, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Baltimore PD publishes its BWC policy on its website, and also has a page dedicated to the department’s BWC program. The current policy was published on September 13, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Baltimore PD requires officers to record activities that are “investigative or enforcement in nature.” (Mandatory Recordings §1-8; Ending a Recording §1-2)

Officers who fail to activate their cameras or interrupts or terminates a recording in progress are required to document the reason for the failure. (Exceptions to Recording §4,6)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Baltimore PD expressly protects victims and witnesses from being recorded without their consent. (Policy §2; Exceptions to Recording §2, Ending a Recording §2)

The policy also addresses patient privacy and the wishes of individuals being strip searched, and some other cases. (Health Care Facilities: Patient Privacy; Strip Searches; Review of Recordings)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

For certain serious incidents, Baltimore PD only allows officers to review the BWC recording if certain conditions are met, such as if an officer “has been compelled to make a statement.” For other routine matters and administrative investigations, officers can view footage before writing their reports. Officers must document in their written reports whether BWC data for the incident was reviewed. (Review of Recordings §5-6)

Limits Retention of Footage

Although the policy contains a section titled “Security, Retention, and Disclosure of BWC Data,” Baltimore PD does not address, and thus does not require, the regular deletion of any footage.

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Baltimore PD expressly prohibits both footage tampering and unauthorized access, and logs all access to footage. (Security, Retention and Disclosure of BWC Data)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Baltimore PD relies on Maryland’s public records law to make footage available, and does not expressly allow complainants to view relevant footage. (Review of Recordings §4)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Baltimore PD limits the use of facial recognition technologies to perform broad searches of recorded footage. A narrow exception is made for analyzing particular incidents using such technologies. (Review of Recordings §9)

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Baltimore County Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 10, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Baltimore County PD has a dedicated public website that provides an overview of its body camera program. The site includes both an informational video, as well as a link to the latest policy. The most recent publicly available policy is dated January 9, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Baltimore County PD requires its officers to record all “enforcement or investigative” activities, among other types of situations. (General; Required BWC Activation; Discretionary BWC Uses)

However, the policy does not require officers to provide concrete justifications for failing to record required events.

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Baltimore County PD prohibits officers from recording “in depth interviews with sexual assault victims,” but otherwise allows officers to determine when there is a “heightened expectation of privacy.” (Prohibited Uses of BWCs; Discretionary BWC Uses; BWC Deactivation)

The policy requires officers to notify individuals that they are being recorded. (Public Notification)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Baltimore County PD permits officers to review footage when completing their written reports. (Access to Recordings; Internal Affairs Section (IAS))

Limits Retention of Footage

Baltimore County PD keeps unflagged footage for 18 months. (Categories and Retention)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Baltimore County PD prohibits officers from unauthorized footage distribution and deletion, and prohibits footage tampering. (System Recordings)

The policy indicates that Baltimore County PD maintains audit logs for footage access. (Technology and Communications Section (TCS))

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Baltimore County PD sets out a category of recordings that are “[r]eleasable to a Person in Interest,” defined in Maryland code as “a person or governmental unit that is the subject of a public record or a designee of the person or governmental unit” (Maryland GP §4-101)(, but does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage All other public footage requests are handled in accordance with Maryland’s public records law. (Definitions; Recording Redaction and Reproduction; TCS Video Manager)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Baltimore County PD limits the use of facial recognition technologies to perform broad searches of recorded footage. A narrow exception is made for analyzing particular incidents using such technologies. (System Recordings)

However, we are concerned that the policy limits the restriction to “system recordings,” which leaves room for the incorporation of facial recognition technology into live video capture and situational awareness technology.

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Baton Rouge Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $749,992 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2017
 Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is this policy now publicly available? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

We include Baton Rouge PD in our scorecard due to the national attention the department received following the Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016. NBC News reported that during the shooting, “the body cameras worn by two officers involved allegedly fell off during the altercation, and didn’t capture footage.” At the time of the shooting, the officers were wearing body cameras as part of a pilot program to test various vendors before final implementation of the program. On June 28, 2017, East Baton Rouge Metro Council members voted unanimously to enter into a five-year contract with Axon (formerly “TASER”) to outfit the entire police department with body cameras.

While we know that officers are wearing body cameras in the streets of Baton Rouge, we haven’t been able to locate a public version of the department’s policy.

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Boston Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Boston PD does not make its BWC policy available on its website, presumably because the program is still in a pilot stage. However, a copy of the most recent policy was shared by the Boston Globe (embedded at the bottom of the article).

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Boston PD’s policy clearly describes when officers must record contact with civilians. (§2.2)

The policy also describes when cameras should be deactivated. Officers are encouraged to justify their decision to discontinue recording, but are not required to do so. (§2.8)

When officers fail to record a required incident, the policy does not appear to require that officers provide a concrete justification.

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

The policy highlights the importance of privacy and prohibits recording civilians’ constitutionally protected rights, and also allows officers to stop recording in areas with a reasonable expectation of privacy, which are described. Officers can, but are not required to, deactivate their cameras in circumstances of a sensitive or private nature or when minors are present. (§§1; 2.4)

The policy also allows subjects to opt out of recording in a private residence. (§2.3)

Officers are required to notify subjects they are being recorded, but are not required to obtain consent to continue recording outside of private residences. (§§2.5-6)

Officers are not required to deactivate recording victims or witnesses, but are given discretion to turn off their cameras if requested. (§2.7)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Boston PD encourages officers to view footage before completing their written reports. (§4.1)

Boston PD prohibits officers from viewing footage immediately following officer-involved shootings or use of deadly force, but officers are allowed to view these recordings prior to making a statement about the situation. (§4.2)

Limits Retention of Footage

The policy does not limit retention of footage during the department’s pilot program. (§6)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Boston PD prohibits officers who do not wear cameras from accessing footage without supervisor permission, but does not seem to apply the same restriction to officers with cameras. (§4.4)

The policy prohibits “improper use” of footage, but does not expressly prohibit employees from erasing or altering recordings. (§7.2)

The policy indicates that access to footage will be audited, but the actual language of the relevant clause appears to apply to BWC use rather than footage access. (§4.6)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy does not expressly allow individuals filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage. It mentions victim and witness requests, but refers them to the Officer of the Legal Advisor and does not explain the process by which complainants would access footage. (§5)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Boston PD limits the use of facial recognition technologies together with cameras, mandating that cameras will not include any “technological enhancements.” This policy is unique among the major department policies we’ve reviewed. (§1)

We had originally scored this policy as green. However, it was pointed out to us that the language may only apply to the cameras themselves, and could still allow broad biometric searches of stored body camera footage. Until we get clarity from the Boston PD about this, we’ve downgraded their score to yellow.

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Broward County Sheriff’s Office

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $999,564 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2016
 Last updated: October 13, 2017. Is this policy now publicly available? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO) implemented its first body-worn camera (BWC) program in 2016. That same year, the United States Department of Justice awarded BSO approximately $1 million to start its body-worn camera program. According to BSO, more than 700 deputies are now equipped with BWC. By the end of 2017, it is expected that all deputies will be wearing BWCs.

While we know that deputies are wearing body cameras in the neighborhoods of Broward County, we haven’t been able to locate a public version of the department’s policy.

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Buffalo Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
 Last updated: October 11, 2017. Is this policy now publicly available? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

The Buffalo Police Department (BPD) intends to start a 90-day pilot program for body-worn cameras to determine whether all patrol officers should wear such cameras. If the department deems the program to be successful, it will provide cameras for all of the 500 officers assigned to the Patrol division.

Collaborating with the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, BPD created a draft policy for the use of body-worn cameras. However, the official draft policy is not available on the BPD website or elsewhere on the internet. The only publicly available information regarding the draft policy is available through a news article describing the draft policy. The department expects the policy to be amended as the cameras are put to actual use.

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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 11, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD publishes its most recent publicly available BWC policy on its website through the Interactive Directives Guide. The most recent policy is Departmental Directive 400-006, which was issued on June 8, 2016 and is current as of May 8, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

The policy provides a clear list of citizen contacts that must be recorded. (§IV.F.16)

However, only in limited circumstances does the Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD require that officers provide concrete justifications for failing to record required events. (§IV.E.3, §IV.F.29)

The policy requires officers to continue recording until the incident’s “adversarial action” ends or until the incident becomes a follow up investigation. (§IV.F.18, §IV.F.36)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

The policy does not require officers to obtain informed consent prior to recording, and does not require officers either to alert individuals that the camera is recording or to inform individuals that they may refuse to be recorded.

The policy does prohibit officers from activating their cameras to record certain sensitive conversations or within certain sensitive places, and it prohibits officers from recording people or discussions unrelated to “a call for service or event.” (§IV.F.30)

The policy prohibits officers from recording in places “where there is an expectation of privacy” but makes an exception for officers “present in an official capacity,” which it does not further define. (§IV.F.28)

The policy prohibits officers from recording strip searches of individuals. (§IV.F.29)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

The policy permits officers to review footage when completing their written reports in most cases, but requires officers to provide a statement first after “Significant Officer Involved incidents.” (§V.H.2.d-e)

Limits Retention of Footage

Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD’s policy requires footage that is not related to a criminal charge or investigation to be deleted within 45 days. The policy requires footage classified as “Non-Citizen Involvement” (video that “does not contain an interaction with a citizen, suspect or associated with any other category. Ex: Pre shift test video, blue light and TASER spark test, accidental activation”) and “Non-Criminal Offenses” (“interaction with a citizen that is not related to a criminal charge or investigation”) to be retained for 45 days and specifies that the BWC storage system automatically deletes footage at the end of the assigned retention period. (§IV.F.19,21, §V.E-F)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

The policy does not explicitly prohibit unauthorized access, but does prohibit the viewing of footage for “anything other than approved departmental purposes” and, with certain limited exceptions, prohibits the copying and dissemination of BWC footage. However, the policy does not further define “approved departmental purposes.” (§IV.F.31,34, §V.A,C)

The policy does not expressly prohibit officers from tampering with or modifying BWC footage; the policy only states that recordings are “incapable of being altered or deleted” by officers and supervisors, without specifying how this is enforced. (§V.B)

The policy states that each recording maintains an audit log of all access to recorded footage. (§V.B,D)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy provides that Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD “may”— rather than must — allow individuals who are subjects of recordings (or their representatives) to view BWC footage. (§V.H.3.e)

However, disclosure to individuals filing complaints may be denied in several situations. (§V.H.3.h)

The policy requires Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD’s Chief of Police to release BWC footage to the public when doing so complies with state and federal law and “is in the best interest of public safety.” (§IV.A.2)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

The policy does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Chicago Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $1,000,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2015
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Chicago PD publishes its most recent publicly available BWC policy online on its Department Directives System. The most recent policy is Special Order S03-14, which was issued on June 9, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Chicago PD provides officers with a clear list of situations that must be recorded. (§II.A)

Officers must state the reason for deactivation on camera before turning it off. If an officer fails to record a required event, the officer must justify this failure on camera after the fact. (§II.B)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Chicago PD prohibits officers from recording inside medical facilities and with exposed individuals. (§III)

In addition, officers must notify all individuals that they are being recorded. (§II.A.4)

Chicago PD expressly permits victims to opt-out of recording. But “if exigent circumstances exist” exist, or “if the officer has reasonable articulable suspicion” of a crime, the officer may continue to record, despite the request to opt-out, after announcing the reason on camera. (§§II.B.1)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Chicago PD allows officers to review BWC recordings “prior to writing any report related to the incident.” (§IV.4. NOTE)

Supervisors must ensure that officers document the fact that they viewed a BWC recording “prior to writing an arrest report.”(§V.A.1.e)

Limits Retention of Footage

Chicago PD incorporates by reference policies from its department-wide data retention policy, as well the state’s recent Officer-Worn Body Camera Act. (§IX.A)

The Department’s Forms Retention Schedule does not provide a specific schedule for BWC recordings. However, the Illinois Officer-Worn Body Camera Act requires unflagged recordings to be retained for 90 days. After this 90-day storage period elapses, unflagged recordings must be destroyed. (50 ILCS 706/10-20(a)(7))

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Chicago PD expressly prohibits footage tampering (i.e., modification and deletion). (§VIII.A)

The Information Services Division is responsible for ensuring that authorized CPD members and “authorized outside-agency personnel” have access to recordings “that relate to their official duties.” (§VI.A)

However, the policy does not note that access to the system is logged or audited.

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The Chicago PD policy does expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view footage. It incorporates by reference the state’s Law Enforcement Officer-Worn Body Camera Act (50 ILCS 706), which requires flagged recording to be disclosed to footage subjects “in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.” (§IX)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Chicago PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Cincinnati Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $600,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2016
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Cincinnati publishes its most recent publicly available BWC policy in its online Police Department Procedures Manual. The most recent policy is Procedure 12.540, dated April 27, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Cincinnati PD requires officers to record “all law enforcement-related encounters and activities as defined in the procedure.” (Policy; §§A.2,4)

When officers fail to record a required event, they must “report the incident to their supervisor,” who must then investigate and document the failure. (Policy; §§A.1.b; F.1.d)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Cincinnati PD prohibits officers from recording where there is “a reasonable expectation of privacy.” (§§A.5.c-d)

Officers are not required to inform citizens that they are being recorded. (Information)

No individuals — and in particular, no victims — can opt out of recording. (§A.2.i)

In addition, officers may record in private homes under certain circumstances. (Policy)

The policy also requires the redaction of “sensitive and/or private situations,” if and when footage is released. (§E.5)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Cincinnati PD does not expressly prohibit officers from viewing relevant footage before filing an initial written report or statement. For police-involved shootings, the Homicide supervisor decides when BWC footage may be reviewed. (§B.5)

Limits Retention of Footage

Cincinnati PD automatically deletes unflagged footage after 90 days. (Policy)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Cincinnati PD expressly prohibits both footage tampering and unauthorized access. (Information; §§B.2; B.6)

The policy also requires all access to recorded footage to be logged. (§B.1)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Cincinnati PD expressly allows a recorded individual to view footage during a citizen complaint investigation. This is a promising policy, although the policy lacks detail on how the viewing procedure works, including whether the recorded individual may be accompanied by his or her attorney. (§F.2.d)

For requesters who are not recorded subjects, the policy relies on existing public records law to make footage available. Oddly, the policy contains an exception for OVI (Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence) incidents, which allows the prosecutor to withhold footage. (§§E.3-4)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Cincinnati PD sharply limits the use of facial recognition technologies to perform broad searches of recorded footage. (A narrow exception is made for analyzing particular incidents using such technologies.) (§G)

However, we are concerned that the policy limits the restriction to “stored video and audio,” which leaves room for the incorporation of facial recognition technology into live video capture and situational awareness technology.

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Cleveland Division of Police

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Cleveland Police does not publish its BWC policy on its website. However, a version of its policy was found on the Cleveland Police Monitoring Team website. This policy, revised on December 16, 2016, was submitted to the Northern District Court of Ohio on December 19, 2016, pursuant to a consent decree between the Cleveland Police and the Department of Justice. On January 17, 2017, the policy was approved by the court, with the exception of Section I-G regarding officer access to BWC footage, Section VII-G regarding public access to BWC footage, and Section V regarding the use of BWCs while working for a private employer. As of September 25, 2017, only one other court document had been filed relating to the department’s BWC policy and it concerned only Section V. So presumably, Section I-G and VII-G are still in the process of being updated.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Cleveland Police clearly describe when officers must record. (§I.A-B; )

Officers must record the entire contact and must always announce the reason why the camera is being turned off before doing so. (§§II.B.1.e-h)

Officers must notify a supervisor if they fail to record, but the policy does not indicate whether officers must provide a concrete justification for failing to record required events. (§II.B.2)

However, the policy does suggest officers will be subject to discipline for repeatedly failing to activate their cameras according to the policy (§I.I)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Cleveland Police prohibits officers from recording in “[a]ny place where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.” (§II.D)

Officers may turn off cameras if requested by victims or witnesses, or parents of juvenile victims or witnesses. (§II.C)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Cleveland Police allows officers to view relevant footage while completing their reports (note that the court rejected clause I.G; presumably this subsection is under review). (§I.D,G)

Supervisors are responsible for identifying discrepancies between footage and reports. (§III.6)

Limits Retention of Footage

Cleveland Police specifies a retention period of 2 years days for “citizen encounters” and 90 days for “Alarms without citizen contact.” but no deletion requirement exists. (§VII.B.4)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Cleveland Police expressly prohibits footage tampering and access for unauthorized use. Each time an officer accesses recorded footage, the officer must note the reason in the system. Cleveland Police also logs all access to footage. (§§I.C; VI.B-C; VII.A)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Cleveland Police does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view footage (note that the court rejected clause VII.G; presumably this subsection is under review). (§VII)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Cleveland Police does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Colorado Springs Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 13, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) posts several department policies online for public review online, however none of these policies specifically address the use of body worn cameras. A “Body Camera” section under “Public Information” on the website has two broken links: one for a Body Worn Camera survey and one for an informational video.

While the policy governing BWC use is not available on the CSPD’s website, we were able to locate a draft copy of the policy online. This draft was released to public in March 2016 as part of the public comment process that took place prior to the department deploying the cameras. However, it is not clear whether the policy has been updated since.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

CSPD’s draft policy does not clearly describe when an officer must record or limit an officer’s discretion on when to record. This policy offers guidance recommendations on when to record, and lays out clear situations on when an officer may not record, however, it does not clearly state when an officer must record. (§§.04; .20)

However, the draft policy requires officers to state why they turned off the camera or why they failed to activate the camera. (§.20)

The policy also requires that officers give a “clear, articulable reason” for why they did not record or discontinued recording. This reason must be stated either on the video prior to turning off the camera, on the CADS report, or in the report submitted by the officer. (Procedure §C.5, Procedure §D.3)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

CSPD’s draft policy offers clear guidance on when officers should not record and specifically prohibits recording in “any location where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy.” (§§.24; .22)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

CSPD’s draft policy allows officers to view their own recording prior to documenting an event and does not require that an officer make a written record or statement of an event before viewing footage. In limited circumstances, an officer is prohibited from accessing their own recording and must gain approval to view the recording. (§.40)

Limits Retention of Footage

CSPD’s draft policy distinguishes recordings of “evidentiary value or where a case report number is generated,” recordings dealing with traffic violations, and other recordings of an “unclassified nature.” Recordings of an “unclassified nature” are stored for 30 days. While these retention periods are within our recommendations, it is unclear from the language of the policy whether these are maximum or minimum retention periods. (§.14)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

CSPD’s draft policy indicates that access to BWC footage is automatically audited. The draft policy prohibits officers from tampering with footage. The policy also mandates that requests for deletion are kept on record and requires approval before content is erased. (§.14, §.30)

While this part of the policy is quite robust, the policy does not explicitly prohibit unauthorized access so we cannot give it a higher score.

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

CSPD’s draft policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage and prohibits subjects of the recording who are not law enforcement from viewing the recording on the scene. According to the draft policy, requests for footage will be subject to the CSPD’s internal policies, the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), and the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act (CCJRA). CSPD’s internal policies are not available on the department’s website. (§§.14; .24)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

The CSPD draft policy does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Columbus Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 12, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Columbus PD does not publish its BWC policy on its website. However, a version of its policy was found on the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Body Worn Camera Toolkit. This policy was effective February 3, 2015.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

The Columbus PD policy provides a clear list of contacts that must be recorded. The policy requires that the BWC be activated “as soon as possible without endangering the life of the officer” and mandates that recording continue “until the completion of the event, or [the officers] have left the scene.” (§§III.C-E; V.A)

The policy appears to require officers to provide concrete justifications for failing to record events. (§V)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

The policy mentions the importance of personal privacy, but offers vague guidance on when not to record. The policy prohibits recording “in places where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists” and only provides as examples “locker rooms, dressing rooms, or restrooms.” (§VII)

The policy allows officers to turn off cameras “in places where there is reasonable expectation of privacy” such as in medical facilities or when interviewing sexual assault victims, but does not require them to do so at the request of vulnerable individuals. (§VI.A)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Columbus PD allows officers to view relevant footage while completing their reports. (§IV.G-H)

Limits Retention of Footage

Columbus PD does not address, and thus does not require, the deletion of any footage.

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

While Columbus PD mentions the fact that access is controlled based on security clearance, the policy does not prohibit unauthorized access or indicate that access is logged or audited. The policy appears to prohibit “permanent” footage tampering. (Definitions; §IV.A,F; §VIII.A-B)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy does not expressly allow individuals filing a complaint to review footage. (§IX.A)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Columbus PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Dallas Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Dallas PD does not publish its BWC policy on its website. However, the policy was found within a presentation made to the City of Dallas Public Safety Committee on January 9, 2017. The policy is dated August 31, 2015.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Dallas PD requires officers to record “all contacts that are conducted within the scope of an official law enforcement capacity.” At the end of each recording, officers must verbally announce why the camera is being turned off. (§§332.04.A.1-3, B)

When officers fail to record a required incident, they must document the failure in their report. (§§332.04.C-D)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Dallas PD prohibits officers from recording where “individuals have an expectation of privacy.” The policy does not specifically protect vulnerable classes of individuals, and even in hospitals and doctors’ offices, only limited restrictions on recording exist. (§§332.05.A, B, E)

Officers do not need to obtain the consent of subjects to record, nor are they required to proactively notify subjects that the camera is recording. (§§332.04.A.4-6)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Dallas PD encourages officers to view incident recordings before writing their reports, and the policy indicates that Texas state law entitles officers to do so. (§§332.04.A.1.m; 332.06.F)

Limits Retention of Footage

Dallas PD automatically deletes unflagged footage after 90 days. (§332.06.B)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Dallas PD expressly prohibits tampering with cameras and footage, as well as unauthorized distribution of footage. However, the policy does not indicate that access to recorded footage will be logged or audited. (§§332.03.A.5-8)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Dallas PD relies on Texas public records law to make footage available, and does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view footage. (§§332.03.A; 332.06.A, D, E)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Dallas PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Denver Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 10, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Denver PD publishes its most recent publicly available BWC policy on its website. The web-based manual makes the policy very easy to find. The policy is Title 119.04, dated September 15, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Denver’s policy includes a detailed list of situations that must be recorded and instructs officers to exercise “good judgment when activating and deactivating the BWC.” (§3)

The policy does provide officers discretion to not activate their camera in situations where “immediate activation of the BWC is not feasible due to an immediate risk to the safety of the officer or others.” However, the policy then requires officers to activate recording “at the first available opportunity” after the immediate threat has been addressed. (§3)

The policy does not require officers to provide concrete justifications for failing to record required events.

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

While the policy prohibits officers from recording in places where “a reasonable expectation of privacy exists,” including patient care areas of healthcare facilities, the policy makes an exception for camera activation for “official law enforcement activity.” (§3.b.4)

The policy appears to allow officers to turn off cameras when a victim requests that the officer stop recording. (§§3.a.2; 4.d.1-2)

The policy allows officers to turn cameras to “buffering mode” during private conversations with an officer, supervisor, doctor, nurse or paramedic. (§3.a.2.c)

The policy prohibits officers from taking video of an individual being strip searched. (§3.b.7)

The policy encourages but does not require officers to notify the public the BWC is activated and recording. (§4.d)

Likewise, the policy requires officers to turn on the camera audible alert signal, but provides officers discretion to mute the signal for tactical situations. (§4.b.3)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

The policy allows officers to review their own camera footage before writing reports and encourages officers to use the footage “to ensure accuracy” when writing reports.

The policy requires officers to receive prior approval to view their own footage in circumstances involving use of force and other critical incidents. However, in both circumstances, the policy does not prohibit officers from viewing footage once approval is granted, and the policy is silent as to whether an officer must file a report or statement before viewing that footage. (§4.e)

Limits Retention of Footage

The policy is not clear how and when stored media is purged. The policy notes that media is to be purged in accordance with the current City and County of Denver General Records Retention schedule, which is not readily available online. (§9.a)

The current State of Colorado Municipal Records Retention Schedule (§100.080(AA)) requires video recordings made from officer recording systems to be maintained for 30 days, but does not specify when the media must be deleted.

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

The policy does not explicitly prohibit footage tampering. It does, however, in limited circumstances, require supervisors to take possession of the BWC media for chain of custody purposes and to ensure that the BWC data remains “uncompromised.” (§6.b)

The policy restricts access to stored footage to “authorized users” and restricts footage viewing to “legitimate law enforcement or administrative purposes.” (§10.b)

The policy also specifies that audio, images and media shall not be copied, released, or disseminated without express consent from the Chief of Police. (§3.b.2)

The policy states that the storage software currently used by the DPD documents footage viewing in an online audit trail.(§6.f)

The policy also lists monthly usage audits, video storage audits, viewing audits, and other audits under as a BWC System Administrator Responsibility. (§8.e)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage, and refers to the department’s existing policy on public records requests (OMS 109.04 and 109.05) to make footage available. The department’s public records policy does not appear to treat BWC footage differently from other records. (§10.a-b)

In addition, the policy expressly prohibits officers from playing back BWC footage for citizen viewing and (§3.b.8)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

The Denver PD policy does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Detroit Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $1,000,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2015
 Last updated: October 10, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

The Detroit Police Department does not appear to publish its policy on its website, but what appears to be a draft copy of the policy was found on the City of Detroit website by searching on Google. The policy is dated “2016” but document metadata indicates it was most recently updated on April 13, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Detroit PD’s policy describes when officers must record, and requires officers to provide concrete justifications both when officers fail to record and when recordings are interrupted or cameras are deactivated (§304.6-3.1-2)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

DPD’s policy provides details about how to weigh required recording circumstances with people’s reasonable expectations of privacy. (§304.6-3.2)

The policy requires officers to inform citizens they are being recorded. While officers have discretion to deactivate cameras at the request of victims, but allowing for discretion in such cases does not go far enough to specifically protect victims from being recorded without their informed consent. (§§304.6-3-1.5; 304.6-3.2.5)

While we realize the department’s policy uses the word “citizens,” we would prefer a term like “subjects” or “potential subjects” since not everyone captured by BWCs may be a citizen (e.g. lawful permanent residents or others).

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

DPD allows officers to view footage before completing their written reports. (§§304.6-4; 304.6-6.405)

Limits Retention of Footage

DPD specifies a retention period for unflagged of 90 days, but does not appear to require footage deletion after that period. (§304.6-8)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

The policy prohibits tampering with and deleting footage, and specifies that “[a]llowing unauthorized personnel to view or listen to” media captured by the BWC is “[i]nappropriate and unauthorized” use. (§304.6-6-7)

However, the police does not indicate that access to footage is logged or audited.

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage. Footage is classified as a “public record” under Michigan’s FOIA law. (§304.6-9)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

DPD’s policy places no limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g. facial recognition) to identify individuals in footage.

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Fairfax County Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 10, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

The Fairfax County Police Department’s draft policy on body worn cameras is accessible via the department website. One must search “body worn cameras” on FCPD’s website in order to locate the policy. FCPD’s most recent BWC policy is from January 2017.

As of late September 2017, Fairfax County was preparing for a pilot program, according to local media.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

FCPD requires that the BWC should be used in “all instances” of police and law enforcement response. (§IV.1)

The situations in which officers are required to activate their BWC “includes, but is not limited to, the following circumstances”: (§V.A)

Once officers activate their BWC, they shall be left active until the “event has concluded.” If the officer deactivates the BWC they must verbally justify the reason for deactivation. (§IV.C)

FCPD mandates that officers must provide an explanation for failing to record in the notes of their report. (§IV.E)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

FCPD’s policy does mention the importance of personal privacy, but offers vague guidance and leaves the decision to record in “sensitive” situations up to officer’s discretion. (§§VI.C,I.1-4)

The policy instructs officers to inform individuals that they are being recorded “when practical.” (§IX.A)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

FCPD’s policy appears to allow officers to review footage prior to making a statement. (As worded, though, the policy appears to indicate this viewing should happen prior to the supervisor making a statement). (§VII.D).

While the policy states that commanders may restrict officers from viewing footage in some circumstances, it does not explicitly prohibit officers from viewing their footage in any cases.(§VIII.D)

Limits Retention of Footage

FCPD’s new draft policy has blank spaces where retention periods will presumably be added. Until the policy is completed, we cannot be certain that unflagged footage will be deleted within a reasonable amount of time. (§XII)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Fairfax County PD expressly forbids officers from “manipulat[ing]…or delet[ing]” any information collected by the BWC. (§IV.F)

FCPD fails to specify who is authorized to access the information from the BWC. The policy mentions that footage should be audited, but does not indicate that all access to recorded footage will be logged or audited. (§VII.B)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

FCPD’s policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to review footage. (§X.A,C-D)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

FCPD’s policy places no limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g. facial recognition) to identify individuals in footage.

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Fayetteville Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $530,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2015
Last updated: October 10, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Fayetteville PD publishes its BWC policy on its website, linked from the department’s Written Directives and Operating Procedures Guide. Operating Procedure 3.24, on “Body Camera Systems” covers this. However, the policy is quite difficult to find: once one finds “Policies and Procedures,” visitors are taken to a page with had a document titled “WD and OP Interactive Directives Guide,” unusual acronyms with no indication this document will contain the body worn camera policy. The procedure was last updated on June 26, 2016 and has been effective since December 30, 2016.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Fayetteville PD provides an extensive list of events that officers must record.(§§3.24.5.A-B; 3.24.5)

FPD’s policy mandates that officers “should activate” their BWC at the “first reasonable opportunity.” (§3.24.4.C)

The policy does not require officers to provide concrete justification for failing to record events. However, any officer who “intentionally disables” their BWC is subject to “disciplinary actions.” (§3.24.2.F)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

FPD’s policy mentions the importance of protecting privacy, but the policy does not require informed consent from vulnerable individuals. (§§3.24.4.H)

The policy states that officers should inform individuals when they are being recorded (§3.24.2).

However, the policy fails to require that an officer receive informed consent from vulnerable individuals.

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Fayetteville PD’s BWC policy does not mention whether officers are permitted to view relevant footage before filing an initial written report or statement. Personnel are required to document in their reports when a “BWC was utilized.” (§3.24.6)

Limits Retention of Footage

While the policy references a retention period for digital recordings, it does not specify whether unflagged footage must be deleted after the end of the retention period. (§3.24.9)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

The policy does not expressly prohibit footage tampering or unauthorized access. Employees and officers are prohibited from copying or disseminating any footage to non-PFD employees. (§§3.24.8.A-B)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage. Supervisors are only required to categorize any footage as “associated with any citizen complaint” prior to the end of the officer’s shift. (§3.24.3.D)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Fayetteville PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Ferguson Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 10, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Ferguson PD publishes its BWC Policy from February 26, 2016 on its website and is listed under the department’s General Order number 481.00 “Officer Audio and Video Recording Equipment.”

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Ferguson PD requires officers to record “[a]ll field contacts involving actual or potential criminal conduct.” While the policy covers a wide range of situations, it requires officers in some cases to predict whether a field contact will involve “potential criminal conduct,” which may be difficult to do. (§§481.3)

If officers are required to record, and they either activate their cameras too late or deactivate their cameras too early, they must document the reason in their written reports. However, the policy does not require officers to always document outright failures to record required incidents — they are only required to document failures to record at medical facilities. (§§481.3.5, 481.5, PR481.2(k))

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Ferguson PD instructs its officers to “be aware of and sensitive to civilians’ reasonable privacy expectations,” including in certain sensitive locations. The policy mentions the privacy and dignity of crime victims, but it does not expressly allow victims to opt-out of recording. (§§481.3(3), PR481.2(b), PR481.4(b))

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Ferguson PD always allows officers to review their footage before filing their initial reports, even in critical and use-of-force incidents. (§§PR481.2(i), PR481.4(p), PR481.6(a)-(b))

Limits Retention of Footage

Ferguson PD retains footage “in accordance with state law” but does not appear to require the deletion of unflagged footage. (§PR481.4(o))

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Ferguson PD expressly prohibits footage tampering and unauthorized access. However, the policy does not indicate that access to recorded footage will be logged or audited. (§§PR481.2(i)-(j), PR481.4(n), PR481.6)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Ferguson PD does not expressly allow recorded individuals to view footage. Requests for footage by the public are handled in accordance with Missouri’s Sunshine Law. (§PR481.4(q))

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Ferguson PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Fort Lauderdale Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $600,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2016
Last updated: October 13, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

The Fort Lauderdale Police Department does not publish its BWC policy on its website. However, the City of Fort Lauderdale accepted $600,000 from the Department of Justice to start a body-worn camera pilot program in 2016. The City of Fort Lauderdale’s budget for FY 2018 indicates the pilot program is close to implementation and will last one year.

While the policy for this pilot program is not available on the department’s website, we were able to locate a draft copy of the policy online. This draft was released to the public in December 2016 as part of the public comment process taking place before the department deploys its body-worn camera pilot program, and may have changed since then.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Fort Lauderdale PD requires officers to activate cameras “if practical and without compromising the safety of the participants or others, prior to engaging in law enforcement activity with the public.” In addition, the Fort Lauderdale PD provides officers with a clear list of situations that must be recorded and when not to record. (§ E, E.1, E.5)

Officers are required to provide justifications verbally on camera before deactivating recording prior to the completion of an event. If an officer fails to record a required event, the officer must justify this failure after the fact. (§§E.3,6)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

The BWC policy for Fort Lauderdale PD offers some guidance on when not to record and prohibits officers from recording “where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.” (§§E.5,9)

However, the policy does not specifically protect vulnerable individuals or victims. While subjects of recordings can expressly request to opt-out of recordings, the policy gives officers the discretion whether or not to honor that request. Furthermore, officers are not required to notify individuals that they are being recorded. (§§E.2.c; E.4)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

The BWC policy for Fort Lauderdale PD requires officers to file an initial written report or statement before relevant footage is reviewed, but only for some incidents. The policy expressly prohibits pre-report viewing for incidents “in which a law enforcement response to resistance was required.” However, officers are allowed to view the recorded incident in all other matters. If the BWC recording is reviewed before authoring the report, then the officer must specify in their report the use of the BWC recording. (§E.15)

Limits Retention of Footage

The BWC policy for Fort Lauderdale PD specifies a minimum retention period that is at least one year for all footage. The policy does not expressly require footage deletion. (§F.5)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Fort Lauderdale PD prohibits both footage tampering and unauthorized use and distribution—and it maintains an audit log of all access to recorded footage. (§§E.9.e,i; G.1.g.b)

Furthermore, the policy requires that requests for deletion are kept on file, and require approval before content is erased. (§F.3)

However, the policy does not expressly prohibit unauthorized access to recorded footage.

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The BWC policy for Fort Lauderdale PD does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage. While footage may be available under public record laws, the FLPD policy does not describes any specific details about the footage request process. In addition, some BWC footage may be exempted from public record laws, which could undermine the ability for anyone to access these recordings. (§ F.1-2,4)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

The FLPD draft policy does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Fort Worth Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 11, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

There appear to be two policy documents governing Fort Worth PD’s use of BWCs, and Fort Worth PD does not publish either document on its website. We located both documents on the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Body Worn Camera Toolkit. One document is titled “Officer-Worn Digital Recording Devices Standard Operating Procedure” (Standard Operating Procedure) and dated March 7, 2014. The other document is Fort Worth PD’s General Orders, which contain a General Order on Officer-Worn Digital Recording Devices (General Order). The Order mainly restates the Standard Operating Procedure, but also includes additional requirements. The Fort Worth Police Department General Orders includes a section (506.03) on “Officer-Worn Digital Recording Devices” but the only content in that section is the word “RESTRICTED.”

A phone call to the Fort Worth PD on March 3, 2016 confirmed that both the General Order and Standard Operating Procedure currently govern the department’s use of body worn cameras. Since both documents cross-reference each other, the two documents seem to operate concurrently to govern the Fort Worth PD’s use of body cameras.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Both Fort Worth PD documents provide nearly identical lists of specific circumstances that must be recorded. The policies list relatively few selective incidents that officers are required to record and do not explicitly state when officers must activate their cameras in these circumstances. (§§II.A.1-6, B.1-2; §§506.03.L-M)

The policies allow officers relatively wide discretion to turn off cameras “when the purpose for activation is no longer present.” The policies do require officers to justify their decision to deactivate recording verbally on camera. (§§II.C.1-5; §§506.03 N.1-5)

Neither policy requires officers to provide concrete justifications for failing to record required events.

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Neither document explicitly requires officers to notify subjects that the camera is recording or to obtain informed consent from vulnerable individuals, such as victims of sex crimes, before recording interactions.

While the Standard Operating Procedure does not require officers to deactivate cameras while in sensitive locations or circumstances, the General Order prohibits officers from recording footage of patient care areas of medical facilities unless the footage is for “official police business such as a criminal investigation,” as well as from recording juveniles unless the resulting footage would be “evidentiary in nature as authorized by the Family Code.” However, neither restriction is framed as a response to personal privacy concerns. (§506.03 O.6-7)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

The Fort Worth PD Standard Operating Procedure does not prohibit officers from viewing footage prior to writing their incident reports, and the General Order explicitly permits officers to view the footage to assist with writing their reports. (§506.03.S)

Limits Retention of Footage

Both policies require destruction of all uncategorized BWC footage after 180 days. (§IV.E; §506.03 W.1)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

The Fort Worth PD Standard Operating Procedure suggests that tampering with BWC recordings “may constitute a criminal offense and/or an administrative violation” but does not expressly prohibit tampering with footage. (“Legal Aspects”)

On the other hand, the General Order explicitly prohibits accessing, copying, editing, or releasing footage without proper authority. The policy forbids officers from showing footage to “non-sworn personnel” without the permission of the officer’s immediate superior – except to government employees directly involved in investigations related to specific footage. The order also bans officers from uploading BWC footage to any type of social media. (§§506.03 B; O.4-5)

The Standard Operating Procedure expressly forbids officers and other individuals from viewing footage without “need-to-know” authorization. (§III.F)

Neither document explicitly requires that all access to recorded footage be logged or audited.

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The Fort Worth PD policies rely on Texas law governing the release of public records to make footage available. Nothing in either document allows complainants to view footage relevant to their complaint. (“Legal Aspects,” §IV.I; §506.03 Y)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

The Fort Worth PD policy does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Fresno Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Fresno PD publishes its BWC policy on its website as part of its policy manual, located by searching the City of Fresno website. The most recent publicly available policy (Policy 450) was made effective on February 1, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Fresno PD provides list of situations that officers must record, when they have discretion to record, and when they are prohibited from recording. (§§450.4-5,7)

The policy states that recordings should generally continue until an incident has concluded, and requires officers to provide concrete justification if they fail to activate their camera (§450.4,8).

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

The policy references mentions privacy, but does not require officers to obtain informed consent from video subjects, including victims and witnesses. (§§450.4;6-7)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Fresno PD allows officer review of footage before filing their initial reports, including after critical incidents. (§450.10-11)

Limits Retention of Footage

Fresno PD retains footage between one year and an indefinite period of time, and does not appear to require deletion after that period. (§450.9)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Fresno PD prohibits officers from making personal copies of footage, but does not address tampering or unauthorized access to footage. The policy also does not indicate that access to recorded footage will be logged or audited. (§450.7)

The policy does indicate that footage is audited to ensure “the camera is being utilized in accordance with this policy”, but does not indicate that audit includes access to or modification of footage. (§450.17)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Fresno PD does not expressly allow complainants to view relevant footage. (§450.15)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Fresno PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Honolulu Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 30, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Honolulu PD publishes its BWC policy on its website, under a section dedicated to departmental policies. The latest available version was issued on March 29, 2017.

Honolulu PD had planned to launch a pilot BWC program in mid-September of 2017. The pilot program has been delayed, but the department still plans to roll out its BWC program “by the end of the year.”

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Honolulu PD requires officers to record calls for service and “law enforcement or investigative encounter[s]” between officers and a member of the public. (§II.B.1)

The policy requires officers to continue recording until “the call for service or encounter has fully concluded” or until ordered to deactivate by a supervisor. (§II.B.2)

If an officer fails to record a required event, the officer must “document the issue” in the incident report and notify his or her supervisor. Before stopping a recording, officers must record a reason on camera before turning it off. (§§II.B.7-8)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Honolulu PD prohibits officers from recording “where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists…unless it is part of a law enforcement function.” Officers are also prohibited from recording conversations that would be “in violation of state or federal privacy laws.” (§II.D)

Officers can, but are not required to, deactivate their cameras in circumstances of a sensitive or private nature. (§C.1)

Officers are not required to deactivate recording victims or witnesses, but are given discretion to turn off their cameras if requested. Officers are not required to obtain consent to record in any situation. (§§II.B.3-5)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Officers may review footage before writing their reports for all incidents, except in the cases of critical incidents. Critical incidents are defined in department policy number 4.49 as incidents where “a fatal or serious bodily injury occurs.” In critical incidents, employees are explicitly required to complete “a public safety statement” “immediately after a critical incident has occurred,” as per policy number 4.49, and prior to reviewing any footage. (§III)

Limits Retention of Footage

Honolulu PD retains BWC footage for 13 months, with limited exceptions that do not include unflagged footage. Honolulu PD also permits, but does not require, that the department’s BWC administrator delete recordings “in accordance with departmental retention schedules and policies.” (§§II.F.1-2,4)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Honolulu PD expressly prohibits both footage tampering and unauthorized access. (§V.C)

Honolulu PD also logs all access to recorded footage. (§II.F.5)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Honolulu PD does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view footage, and requires public requests for recordings to be approved by the Office of the Chief of Police. The policy also refers to “federal, state, and local statutes and departmental policy” to govern the release of recordings. (§VI.B)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

The policy does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Houston Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 11, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Houston PD maintains a dedicated webpage about its BWC program, which includes its most recent publicly available draft BWC policy (dated August 11, 2017).

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Houston PD requires officers to record “any law enforcement related activities.” (§§6; 13)

Officers must provide a concrete justification if they fail to record a required event. (§8)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Houston PD allows officers to exercise discretion to turn off their cameras with victims, and while officers and supervisors are instructed to go to great lengths to record, are required to cease recording long enough for victims of family violence to give a statement. (§11)

The policy also references general privacy concerns. (§12)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Houston PD expressly allows officers to view footage while completing their reports or giving a statement. (§§17; 21)

Officers are also encouraged to review footage in “response to resistance” incidents. (§11)

Limits Retention of Footage

Houston PD retains non-evidentiary footage for 180 calendar days, but does not appear to require deletion after that period. (§15)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Houston PD prohibits unauthorized footage sharing, but does not appear to explicitly prohibit footage tampering. (§§1-2)

However, the policy does indicate that access to footage is audited (§18).

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Houston PD relies on Texas public records law to make footage available, and does not expressly allow complainants to view relevant footage. (§23)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Houston PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $997,956 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2017
Last updated: October 11, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) publishes its most recent publicly available BWC policy on its website under a section dedicated to body worn cameras. JSO’s most recent BWC Policy is dated July 28, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Jacksonville SO provides officers with a clear list of situations that must be recorded. (§II.C.1)

If an officer fails to record in a required circumstance, he or she must provide justification (§II.I.5)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office prohibits officers from recording certain sensitive situations, including legally-privileged communications of sexual assault and domestic violence victims. (§II.D)

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office requires officers to turn off their cameras upon request when “invited into a location where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and the Officer otherwise has no lawful right to occupy that space.” An officer need not provide notification nor honor a request to terminate recording when “an Officer is lawfully present…at a location where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy,” except when interacting with victims of sexual assault. (§II.E, §II.B.6, §II.C.2.f)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Jacksonville SO allows officers to view footage before completing their written reports. (§J.1.B).

Limits Retention of Footage

The policy requires footage be retained in accordance with the Florida General Records Schedule GS2 for Law Enforcement, Correctional Facilities and District Medical Examiners. Item #224 in the General Retentions Schedule requires audio and visual recordings to be maintained for a minimum of 90 days. While the General Retentions Schedule is unclear on whether unflagged footage must be deleted, the Jacksonville SO policy indicates that “the software is programmed to perform automated purges to delete recordings set to expire as provided in this directive.” (§§II.M.3; II.S)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

The policy expressly prohibits both footage tampering and unauthorized access, and indicates that all access to recorded footage will be audited. (§§II.D.20; II.D.15; II.J.1.e; II.M.4)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage, and instead references various state, local, and federal public records law. (The policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage, and instead references various state, local, and federal public records law. (§§II.J.1.d; II.R)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Jacksonville SO does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $250,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2015
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Las Vegas Metropolitan PD does not publish its BWC policy on its website. However, in August 2016, a department representative e-mailed us a copy of the latest policy, titled “5/210.01 Body Worn Cameras” and dated October 2015.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

LVMPD requires its officers to record a wide range of situations. (General Procedure)

The policy requires officers to record until the event has concluded. However, the policy appears to give officers some discretion to turn their cameras off, if they determine it necessary to “conserve available recording time” or if they have a “clearly articulable reason” for doing so. This vague guidance creates concerning loopholes. (General Procedure)

Before turning their cameras off, officers must announce the reason on camera. When officers fail to record, they must document the reason in their reports. (General Procedure; Camera Deployment)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

LVMPD requires officers to obtain explicit permission from crime victims and witnesses (or a parent or legal guardian, in the case of a juvenile) before recording. In addition, LVMPD allows officers to cease recording in sensitive locations and situations. (General Procedure; Victims and Witnesses; Juvenile Recordings; Sensitive Locations)

Officers are required to notify individuals that they are being recorded. (General Procedures)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

LVMPD permits officers to view footage before completing their statements, even in cases of officer-involved shootings.

Limits Retention of Footage

LVMPD deletes unflagged footage in exactly 45 days. (Category Retention Schedule)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

LVMPD prohibits both footage tampering and unauthorized use and distribution — and it maintains an audit log of all access to recorded footage. (Upload and Storage Procedures; Recorded Data Access and Review)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

LVMPD allows individuals who are seeking to file complaints (and others) to view relevant footage. (Data Storage, Security, and Access; Requests for Video/Audio Pursuant to Nevada’s Open Records Act)

While the BWC policy itself is short on details, a LVMPD webpage4 provides specific details about the footage request process. Individuals can make a request to inspect footage5 either in writing, in person or over the phone. LVMPD classifies requestors into one of three categories — media, involved citizens, or general public — each with slightly different access procedures. For involved citizens, LVMPD will respond to a request within 5 days to arrange an appointment to inspect the footage at LVMPD Headquarters. An involved citizen may also request a copy of the footage, and could be charged a fee if redactions are necessary.

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

LVMPD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Long Beach Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 30, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) publishes its BWC policy on its website. One must search “body worn cameras” on LBPD’s website in order to locate the policy. The latest available version was last revised June 2, 2016.

LBPD launched a BWC pilot program on November 5, 2016. As of July 2017, the pilot program was ongoing, but it is unclear whether full funding will be authorized in the city’s 2018 budget.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

LBPD provides officers with a clear list of situations that must be recorded. (§7.8.5.4)

The policy encourages officers to activate their BWC “prior to contact with citizens, or as soon as safely possible thereafter” and to continue recording until the contact “is concluded.” (§7.8.5.3(B))

When an officer fails to record a required event, the policy indicates that the incident “shall be reviewed at the divisional level,” but does not require officers to provide concrete justifications for failing to record. (§7.8.5.11)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

LBPD’s policy mentions the importance of personal privacy concerns, but maintains that civilians have no reasonable expectation of privacy whenever talking to an officer “during the scope of an officer’s official duties.” (§7.8.5.5(5), §7.8.5.3(C))

The policy does not require informed consent from vulnerable individuals, but permits deactivation upon request if an officer determines that recording will “impede or limit the cooperation of a victim or witness during an investigative contact.” (§7.8.5.3(E), §7.8.5.5(6))

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

LBPD allows officers to review their footage and any footage “in which they appear or could have been heard” before filing their initial reports. For officer involved shootings or in-custody deaths, the policy indicates that approval may be required. (§7.8.5.8(1), §7.8.5.8(3))

The policy requires officers to note in their police reports whether a recording was reviewed prior to writing such reports. (§7.8.5.3(F))

Limits Retention of Footage

The policy is not clear how and when stored media is purged, only that it will be “preserved in accordance with the law.” (§7.8.5.7)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Long Beach PD expressly prohibits footage access “for other than official police department use.” However, the policy does not indicate that access to recorded footage will be logged or audited, nor does it explicitly prohibit footage tampering. (§7.8.5.2(6))

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Long Beach PD does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view footage, and refers to the LBPD Public Records Request Act Policy to govern the release of recordings. While certain department personnel may show footage to compplainents, they do not appear to be required to do so. (§7.8.5.2(5))

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Long Beach PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Louisville Metro Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 11, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Louisville PD publishes its most recent publicly available body worn camera policy on its website within its lengthy Standard Operating Procedures. The policy is numbered SOP 4.31, beginning on page 341 of the manual. It was last revised on August 7, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

The policy requires officers to record “any call for service” and activate their camera prior to engaging in “any law enforcement activity or encounter.” The policy provides an exception “for extremely rare situations” involving exigent safety concerns but requires the officer to activate the camera “at the first opportunity when it is safe to do so” afterwards. (§4.31.5)

The policy requires officers to document in writing a justification for failing to activate their BWCs or failing to complete a recording of a situation required by the policy. (§4.31.5)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

The policy does not require officers to obtain informed consent prior to recording in any circumstance, nor does it require officers to inform subjects that the camera is recording. The policy does not explicitly protect vulnerable individuals. (§4.31.6)

The policy does take privacy into consideration to a limited extent by requiring that the camera not be used “where an exceptional expectation of privacy exists” (emphasis added) and requiring that cameras be turned off when officers enter juvenile detention facilities. The policy requires that officers limit recording to “legitimate law enforcement activities while on school property” or at school events, and to “specific law enforcement activity” in bathrooms, locker rooms, and other highly private areas. The policy permits discretionary deactivation when hospital medical staff request it. The policy also requires officers to make a full recording of consent searches, including the giving of consent by the subject, and requires audio-only recording of strip searches. (§4.31.5)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

The policy allows officers to view relevant footage before filing a report or statement, but explains that recordings are not a replacement or substitution for written reports. (§§4.31.6; 4.31.14)

Limits Retention of Footage

The policy requires that non-evidentiary recordings be retained for a minimum of 30 days (§4.31.15).

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

The policy explicitly prohibits officers from modifying or tampering with footage as well as “any hardware/software component or part associated with the [BWC].” (§§4.31.15; 4.31.6)

While the policy does not explicitly prohibit unauthorized access, it does include several provisions controlling access to footage. (§§4.31.15; 4.31.5-6)

The policy provides that the department’s storage system maintains an audit log of videos that have been viewed and “any actions taken by LMPD members.” (§§4.31.5)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage. The policy provides that footage may be requested via an open records request and allows Louisville PD to redact footage that “may compromise an investigation” or “that infringe on an individual’s privacy rights.” (§4.31.15)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

The policy does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Los Angeles Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $1,000,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2015
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

LAPD hosts the most recent version of its BWC policy on its website, but it is not easy to find and doesn’t show up in the website’s search function. The policy does show up when searching “LAPD body worn camera policy” in external search engines. This version was approved by the Board of Police Commissioners on April 28, 2015.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

LAPD requires officers to record the entire contact of “any investigative or enforcement activity involving a member of the public.” (§§III; V)

When officers fail to record a required activity, they must document the reason in writing in various department reports and systems. (§VI)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

LAPD allows (but does not require) officers to turn off their cameras when they encounter victims in sensitive circumstances, or patients in health care facilities. (§VI)

LAPD “encourages” officers to notify subjects that they are being recorded, but officers do not need to obtain consent. (§IX)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Not only does LAPD allow officers to view recordings of incidents before filing documentation — they require it. (§§XVIII-XIX)

Limits Retention of Footage

LAPD does not directly address footage retention. It only mentions that commanding officers are “responsible for . . . ensuring adherence to record retention protocols . . .” without reference to what those protocols are. (§XXVII)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

LAPD considers unauthorized use, release, modification and deletion of footage to be “serious misconduct and subject to disciplinary action.” But the policy does not indicate that access to recorded footage will be logged or audited. (§§VII-VIII; XII)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

LAPD considers footage to be confidential department records, and does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view footage. (§VII)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

LAPD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $999,600 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2016
Last updated: October 30, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) does not publish its BWC policy on its website. However, a version of its policy was found on the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Body Worn Camera Toolkit. This policy was last revised September 27, 2012.

According to local news outlets, about 2,000 LASD deputies have bought BWCs for themselves, but the department itself continues to lack an updated, official BWC policy.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

LASD officers are only encouraged to make “reasonable attempts” to record “significant incidents.” (Recording Incidents with a Portable Video Camera)

Officers are encouraged to record until “the entire incident has been brought to completion.” (Recording Incidents with a Portable Video Camera)

The policy does not require officers to provide concrete justification for failing to record events, except when the camera is deactivated because of “a battery, tape, or memory storage device change.” (Recording Incidents with a Portable Video Camera)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

The policy does not address personal privacy concerns and actually encourages recording in sensitive medical situations (Recording Incidents with a Portable Video Camera)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

LASD does not address, and thus does not prohibit, officer review of footage before filing their initial reports.

Limits Retention of Footage

LASD specifies a minimum retention period of 25 months and does not appear to require footage deletion. (Retention of Recordings, Unit Commander Responsibilities)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

The policy does not expressly prohibit footage tampering. However, the policy does indicate that server rooms “shall not be accessed by unit personnel.” (Fixed Video Equipment Inspection)

The policy does not expressly prohibit footage tampering nor does it indicate that access to recorded footage will be logged or audited.

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage.

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

LASD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Memphis Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Memphis PD does not publish its BWC policy on its website. However, a recent policy was published by local news station WREG. The policy is dated September 23, 2015.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Memphis PD requires officers to record a wide range of on-duty activities. (§IV.C.4)

Prior to each camera deactivation, officers must state the reason for termination of the recording. Officers must also document any failures to record in their report. (§§IV.C.6-9; IV.E)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Memphis PD advises officers to avoid recording victims and witnesses in sensitive situations and locations. (§§IV.C.10; V.C)

But while officers must inform subjects that they are being recorded, the policy does not expressly allow subjects to opt out of recording. (§IV.C.5)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Memphis PD permits officers to review footage when completing their written reports. (§IV.F)

Limits Retention of Footage

The policy does not require Memphis PD to delete unflagged footage.

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Memphis PD expressly prohibits footage tampering and unauthorized access, but does not indicate that access to recorded footage will be logged or audited. (§§5.E-H)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Memphis PD does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view footage.

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Memphis PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Mesa Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Mesa PD does not publish its BWC policy on its website. However, in August 2016, a department representative e-mailed us a copy of the latest policy, titled “DPM 3.4.35 On-Officer Body Camera Program” and made effective June 7, 2016.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Mesa PD requires officers to activate their cameras “when responding to a call or have any contact with the public.” (§3/Operational Guidelines; §3/Use Guidelines)

Officers are required to provide justifications whenever they failed to record, or when recordings are interrupted. (§3/Use Guidelines)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Mesa PD prohibits officers from recording in places where “a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.” (§3/Restrictions)

The policy gives officers discretion (but does not require them) to discontinue recording when a victim requests it. (§3/Use Guidelines)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Mesa PD allows its officers to view footage “to assist” in completing their written reports. Even in officer-involved shooting (OIS) incidents and Internal Affairs investigations, officers may review footage before giving a statement. (§3/Review; §4/Documenting & Reporting)

Limits Retention of Footage

Mesa PD does not appear to require the deletion of unflagged footage. (§4/Storage/ Evidentiary Guidelines; §4/Retention & Public Release)

However, the referenced policy DPM 3.4.15 Evidentiary Recordings provides a circular reference back to the BWC policy.

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Mesa PD prohibits both footage tampering and unauthorized access. (§3/Restrictions; §4/Storage/ Evidentiary Guidelines)

The policy mentions audits of recordings, but not audits of access to recordings. (§4/Inspection and Audit)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Mesa PD does not expressly allow individuals alleging police misconduct to view relevant footage. Access to footage appears to be guided only by Arizona’s public records law. (§3/Restrictions; §4/Retention & Public Release)

The referenced policy DPM 3.3.70 Public Records Request also does not address complainant access.

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Mesa PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Miami Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $960,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2016
Last updated: October 5, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

The Miami Police Department publishes the latest BWC policy on its website, and maintains a dedicated page on its website about the department’s BWC program which is linked from the homepage. The policy is undated, but document metadata suggests it was last modified on July 27, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

MPD’s policy clearly describes the type of incidents during which BWCs should be activated. (§§6.3; 6.4.2.2)

While the policy clearly states that BWC recordings must continue until the completion of an event and requires officers to provide concrete justification for deactivating during required events, the policy does not appear to require concrete justification for failure to record an event. (§§6.4.2.2.g; 6.4.3.1.d)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

MPD’s policy offers vague guidance on personal privacy concerns. (§6.4.3.2)

However, the policy does not protect victims from being recorded without informed consent. (§6.4.2.2.h,k)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

MPD’s policy allows officers to view relevant footage before filing an initial written report or statement, including in critical incidents. (§§6.4.4; 6.4.7.2.b)

Limits Retention of Footage

MPD requires that the department all digital media for a minimum of 90 days, but does not appear to require the deletion of footage (§6.4.8.1)

The stated retention period for uncategorized footage is 180 days, but again the policy does to appear to require footage deletion at the end of the retention period. (§6.4.5.1.c.1.a)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

MPD prohibits officers from unauthorized access, copying and deletion of information from body worn cameras, but does not prohibit footage tampering. (§6.4.8.2)

The policy does not appear to indicate that access to footage is logged, but does require ”BWC performance and usage” to be audited regularly. (§6.5.2)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy relies on Florida’s Public Records law for footage access and does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage. (§6.4.8.4-5)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

The policy does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Miami-Dade Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $1,000,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2015
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

MDPD publishes its most recently publically available BWC policy on its website under a section dedicated to BWCs. The latest available version was issued on April 20, 2016. The BWC policy is under the MDPD’s Departmental Manual at CHAPTER 33 – PART 1 – BODY-WORN CAMERA SYSTEM.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

MDPD requires officers to “make every effort” to record every encounter where “a law enforcement officer, acting in an official capacity, comes into contact with the general public.”(§§V.E; V.H)

MDPD’s policy later states that officers “should activate” their Body Worn Cameras prior to “engaging in any official law enforcement matter” which it goes on to list. (§VII.B)

Officers are expected to continue their recording until the “conclusion of the event.” (§VII.C)

When officers fail to record, officers must justify the failure in writing and notify their supervisor. (§VI.E)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

MDPD allows victims to opt out of recording if they are “in locations where [they] have a reasonable expectation of privacy,” but only at the officer’s discretion. The policy does not explicitly require informed consent of vulnerable individuals to record. (§VII.H)

In situations not involving victims, MDPD officers are not required to notify or obtain consent from subjects. (§VII.DI)

Officers can choose to turn off their BWC when dealing with individuals experiencing “matters of a personal nature,” but these matters are not defined. (§VII.I)

Miami-Dade PD also has no policy that requires officers to inform subjects that the camera is recording.

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

MDPD allows officers to view relevant footage while completing their reports. (§§VII.F; X.C)

In “critical incidents” the policy provides additional guidance about maintaining the integrity of footage immediately following the event, but does not explicitly prohibit officers from reviewing footage before writing a report or making a statement. (§X.I)

Limits Retention of Footage

The policy does not expressly require that unflagged footage be deleted. It requires that unflagged footage be retained for a minimum of 90 days. (§XIII.D)

MDPD’s policy requires a minimum retention period for evidentiary data, but does not mandate a maximum period of retention. (§Addendum. 1-11)

The policy further states that all data will be retained according to state retention schedules, which can be found in the General Records Schedule GS2 For Law Enforcement, Correctional Facilities, and District Medical Examiners. However, the schedule does not address footage from body worn cameras. (Florida Administrative Code R. 1B-24.003(1)(b))

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

MDPD expressly forbids footage tampering and unauthorized access. Employees are forbidden from “access[ing], review[ing], [or] copy[ing]” any footage from body worn cameras. (§VIII.E-I)

While the policy states that the footage is regularly audited by its secure “cloud based solution” the policy does not expressly state that access to recorded footage will be logged. (§X.B)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

MDPD relies on existing public records law to make footage available and only allows dissemination for “official purposes.” (§VII.K)

MDPD does not expressly allow recorded individuals to view footage when filing complaints. If citizens want to review the footage, the supervisor will “explain the procedure” necessary to obtain a copy of the footage, which it does not further spell out. (§VIII.C)

MDPD states that video will be considered in the public record and that the department it complies with the “applicable law[s]” and will release BWC data in accordance with these laws. (§§XIII.A-B)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Miami-Dade PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Milwaukee Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Milwaukee PD publishes its most recent publicly available BWC policy on its website as part of its Standard Operating Procedures. The policy is SOP 747, effective July 15, 2016.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Milwaukee PD requires officers to record “all investigative or enforcement contacts” through the completion of the event. (§§747.25.C.2.d, g)

Before prematurely stopping a recording, officers must record a justification on camera before turning it off. (§§747.25.D.3)

However, when officers fail to record a required incident, there is no requirement to provide a concrete justification.

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Milwaukee PD prohibits officers from recording “in a places where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.” But in other sensitive situations, including those that involve nude individuals or victims of sexual assault, Milwaukee PD gives officers full discretion over whether to record. (§747.25.D.1; §§747.25.E1-2)

Milwaukee PD suggests — but stops short of requiring — that officers inform subjects that they are being recorded. The policy does not expressly allow subjects to opt out of recording. (§747.25.C.2.h)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Milwaukee PD allows officers to review footage when writing their reports. (§747.25.I.1.b)

In “critical incidents” (action resulting in great bodily harm or death) officers are not allowed to view recordings until investigators arrive, but are not prohibited from viewing footage prior to making a statement or writing a report. (§747.25.F.2)

Limits Retention of Footage

Milwaukee PD specifies various “recording management categories” and the minimum retention durations for each category. Unflagged footage is to be preserved for 130 days, but it is not clear whether this is a minimum or maximum period. (§747.25.G.2)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Milwaukee PD prohibits unauthorized access to footage, but does not expressly prohibit officers from modifying, deleting, or otherwise tampering with footage. The policy also does not indicate that access to recorded footage will be logged or audited. (§747.25.J.2)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Milwaukee PD relies on existing public records law to make footage available, and does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view footage. (§§747.25.J.4-6)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Milwaukee PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Minneapolis Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $600,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2015
Last updated: October 5, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Minneapolis PD publishes the most recent publicly available version of its BWC policy on its website. The policy can be found in the department’s online Policy & Procedure Manual as Section 4-223 on Body Worn Cameras. The most recent policy is dated July 29, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

The policy requires officers to activate their cameras in a wide range of situations, and gives officers discretion to activate the BWC during general citizen contact and anytime an officer feels it is appropriate to preserve audio/visual data while taking a statement from a victim or witness. (§§IV.E.1-2)

The policy requires officers to record until the conclusion of the event. The policy also specifies certain contacts where officers may, but are not required to, deactivate the BWC. (§§IV.F.1-2)

If officers fail to record a required event, they must document the reason in either their report or in the CAD system. Officers must also document the reason for any deactivation, both aloud on camera and either in their report or the CAD system. (§§IV.E.1.d; IV.F.3; IV.G.2)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

The policy allows, but does not require, officers to turn off their cameras when they encounter certain vulnerable individuals, like a victim of a sexual assault, and encourages officers to gain victims’ informed consent to record. Officers must also turn their cameras away (and only record audio) during strip searches. (§§IV.E.1.c, IV.F.2)

The policy also encourages (but does not require) officers to notify members of the public that they are being recorded. (§IV.A.12)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

The policy encourages officers to view footage before filing an initial report to “ensure the accuracy of reports.” (§§IV.G.1; IV.I.4)

In “critical incidents” (situations including deadly force, death, or great bodily harm) the policy notes that video access requires approval, but still does not prohibit officers from reviewing footage prior to writing reports. (§IV.J.3)

Limits Retention of Footage

The policy does not expressly require deletion of unflagged footage. Footage related to “Petty Misdemeanor(s)” and “Non-Evidentiary/General Recording(s)” are retained for one year. This appears to be a minimum duration, rather than a maximum. (§IV.A.9.c)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

The policy expressly prohibits footage tampering and defines a specific set of circumstances under which an employee may access footage. (§§IV.B.4, IV.I.1-5)

The policy notes that access to data is logged and audited. (§§IV.I.8; II.E.2)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage. Rather, the policy relies on existing public records law to make footage available. (§§IV.I.1, 6, 7)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

The policy does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Montgomery County Department of Police

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Montgomery County Police Department publishes its body worn camera policy on its website. MCPD’s most recent Body Worn Camera Policy is dated April 20th, 2016.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

MCPD provides a long and detailed list of situations when officers must use their BWC. (§VI.C)

The policy clearly defines when an event is “concluded” and officers are allowed to deactivate their BWC. (§VI.D)

Officers must “record a brief verbal explanation for the deactivation” of their BWC before turning off the device. (§VI.E).

MCPD’s policy states that there are “exigent circumstances” in which the officer may not be able to activate their BWCS. The officer is required to “document the reason” for their failure to use or delayed start of their BWCS. (§VI.F)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

MCPD prohibits recording an “interview with a victim of a sex offense” without his or her consent. (§VI.I)

In non-victim cases, officers have discretion as to whether to turn off their camera at the request of subjects. (§VI.G)

Officers are required to notify individuals that they are being recorded except when exempt by law. (§VI.B)

Officers are prohibited from recording strip searches. (§VII.B)

The policy also protects the privacy of individuals engaged in constitutionally-protected activity. (§IX.L)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

MCPD allows officers to view their recordings while completing their reports as well as before court appearances. (§IX.A.2)

Limits Retention of Footage

MCPD mandates that non-evidentiary recordings will be “destroyed after 210 days.” (§X.C)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

MCPD expressly prohibits officers from modifying or tampering with the BWC recordings “in any manner.” (§§X.N-O)

The policy requires that access to footage will be logged. (§IX.K)

MCPD also expressly states who may access and view recordings. (§IX.A)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The MCPD policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage, only noting that recordings will be released under applicable public records law or with permission of the Chief of Police. (§§XI.A; XI.E)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

The MCPD’s policy prohibits the use of biometric technologies, with a narrow exception made for analyzing particular incidents using such technologies. (§IX.M)

However, we are concerned that the policy limits the restriction to “stored video and audio,” which leaves room for the integration of facial recognition technology into live video capture and situational awareness technology.

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Newark Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 11, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Newark PD has a dedicated page on its website that displays a draft body camera policy. The site notes that it will be updated with a permanent policy “on a future date.” The policy also indicates that the BWC Administrator will review the policy on a quarterly basis during its pilot phase and an annual basis indefinitely thereafter. Currently, officers in the 5th Precinct are in the pilot phase of their body camera program. The draft policy is not dated, but appears to be active as of September 19, 2017.

Notably, the policy requires that the NPD publicize the deployment of the BWC program on its website and create opportunities for public comment.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Newark PD provides officers with a clear list of situations that must be recorded. (§VIII.A)

Officers must record “the entire duration of the event/encounter” and are prohibited from deactivating the camera prior to the point at which “the officer(s) or all citizens have departed the scene and the officer(s) have informed the dispatcher/communications or a supervisor that the event has ended.” (§VIII.C)

The policy also requires officers to justify non-activation or interruption of recordings. (§VIII.F)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Newark PD prohibits officers from recording “where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy…unless enforcement action is required.” The policy specifically prohibits recording in school or youth facilities, places of worship, patient care areas, or during courtroom proceedings in certain circumstances. (§VIII.E)

The policy requires officers to notify crime victims and civilians inside of their homes or “places of abode” that they are being recorded, unless such notification is “safe” or “unfeasible.” (§VIII.B)

Newark PD notes that officers may deactivate recording as per civilian request where it appears that the person “will not provide information or otherwise cooperate” until the camera has been turned off, or if the requester is seeking emergency medical services. (§VIIII.F)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Officers may review footage before writing their reports for all incidents, except in the cases of use of force that are under investigation. In use of force incidents, employees are prohibited from reviewing footage until authorized to do so by the agency investigating the incident, but are not prohibited from viewing footage before writing a report or making a statement. (§§XI.4; XI.15)

Limits Retention of Footage

The policy does not require police to delete their BWC recordings after a certain amount of time. The retention and disposition schedule is determined by the BWC administrator and body camera vendor which notes that the retention period “shall not be less than 90 days.” The recordings may not be deleted until the “expiration of the statute of limitations” for individual requests who were the subjects of the video, or the resolution internal investigation. (§X)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Newark PD expressly prohibits both footage tampering and access for “non-law enforcement purposes” and requires its system administrator to “establish and maintain a database” that logs access to BWC recordings. (§XI, §XII.1,3-4,17)

However, the policy does not indicate that this database will be audited, though audits of the system are permitted. (§XI.11)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Newark PD suggests that BWC footage can be shown to civilians who “intends to file a complaint against an officer to demonstrate what actually occurred.” However, while such access is “permitted,” it does not appear to be required. (§XI.6)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Newark PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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New Jersey Department of Public Safety

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 16, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

The New Jersey Department of Public Safety’s policy on body worn cameras is accessible via the department website. One must search “body worn cameras” on NJDPS’s website in order to locate the policy. NJDPS’s most recent BWC policy is from July 28, 2015. This policy appears to be a statewide directive to apply standards for police departments across the state.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

The New Jersey Department of Public Safety (NJDPS) provides officers with a clear list of situations that must be recorded, including when “circumstances develop so that an officer is authorized to use force.” (§§5.2; §6.8)

The New Jersey Department of Public Safety also provides detailed requirements to officers as to when a BWC should be activated and when BWC deactivation is authorized, including specific requirements for circumstances where use of force may be . (§§5.4,6-7)

However, the NJDPS does not require officers to provide justification when they fail to record required events.

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

The policy does not require officers to obtain informed consent prior to recording in any circumstance. However, NJDPS officers are permitted, but not required, to deactivate BWCs upon the request of a civilian. When deciding whether to honor a request to deactivate a BWC, the policy encourages NJDPS officers to “consider the privacy and safety interests of the person requesting de-activation” as well as “whether the encounter is occurring in the person’s residence.” The officer is authorized to turn off the recording “under circumstances where it reasonably appears that the person will not provide information or otherwise cooperate with the officer unless that request is respected.” (§§6.1-2)

If the officer declines the request, the officer must inform the individual of that decision and document the reasons for deactivation. (§§6.3-4)

Any request for deactivation must be “self-initiated” by the civilian. The policy expressly prohibits officers from asking whether a person would prefer that the officer deactivate the BWC or suggesting that the BWC should be deactivated. (§6.1)

The policy does not require officers to inform subjects that the camera is recording in all cases. Officers are required to answer truthfully when specifically asked whether they are recording an encounter. (§§4.1-4)

The policy does explicitly protect certain vulnerable individuals, such as students and patients, and prohibits recording in places of worship and courtrooms. (§§7.1,4)

The policy requires that officers tag any recordings that raise special privacy or safety issues and prohibits access and use of those recordings without permission. (§9.3-4)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

The New Jersey Department of Public Safety allows officers to view footage before completing their written reports. (§10.1.d)

In the case of a police use-of-force investigation, officers must receive prior approval to review recorded footage of the incident. (§10.2)

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Limits Retention of Footage

The New Jersey Department of Public Safety specifies a minimum retention period of 90 days, but does not appear to require footage deletion. (§8)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

The New Jersey Department of Public Safety expressly prohibits unauthorized access to recorded footage, and authorized footage access is limited. (§10.1)

The NJDPS requires each department to maintain a record of all individuals who access recorded footage. (§10.3)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

While the New Jersey Department of Public Safety permits officer to show recorded individuals relevant footage related to a potential citizen complaint, the policy does not expressly allow those individuals to review all relevant footage. The policy lacks detail on how the viewing procedure works, including whether the recorded individual may be accompanied by his or her attorney. (§10.1.f)

The policy also limits access to recordings of use-of-force incidents that are under investigation. (§10.2)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

The policy does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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New Orleans Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $237,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2015
Last updated: October 5, 2016. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

NOPD publishes its BWC policy on its website within the Department’s Regulations Manual. The latest available version of the Regulations Manual is dated April 26, 2017. The BWC policy is Chapter 41.3.10, and was last revised November 6, 2016, and the department also has a policy governing inadvertent misuse and non-use of BWCs.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

NOPD requires officers to record a wide range of situations. (§§10-14)

If officers deactivate their cameras before the conclusion of an incident, they must either seek supervisory approval or document their reasoning on camera. (§31)

However, NOPD has no policy that requires officers to provide concrete justifications when they fail to record required incidents. According to the department’s Body-Worn Camera (“BWC”) Inadvertent Misuse and Non-Use policy, officers are encouraged to self-report BWC policy violations, which includes failure to record. (Body-Worn Camera (“BWC”) Inadvertent Misuse and Non-Use policy §14)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

While NOPD expects officers to “be aware of, and sensitive to, civilians’ reasonable privacy expectations,” the department nonetheless gives officers full discretion to record during sensitive circumstances. The policy also does not expressly allow subjects to opt out of recording. (§§10; 30)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

NOPD allows officers to view footage before completing their written reports. (§§52-53)

Limits Retention of Footage

NOPD specifies minimum retention durations, but does not require footage deletion. (§9)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

NOPD expressly prohibits both footage tampering and unauthorized access, but does not indicate that access to recorded footage will be logged or audited. (§§5-6; 50)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

NOPD does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view footage.

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

NOPD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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New York Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 5, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

NYPD publishes its BWC policy on its website as an appendix to a larger report responding to public and officer input on a draft of that policy. The most recent draft was issued on March 22, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

The NYPD policy lists a specific set of actions that officers must record (§3). Officers are given the discretion to record other additional activities (§4), as long as those activities are not on the prohibited recordings list (§10).

NYPD also spells out the circumstances in which officers may deactivate their cameras. (§9)

When officers fail to record required incidents, NYPD requires them to document and justify such failures. (§6)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

NYPD prohibits officers from recording individuals in certain sensitive situations, including victims of sex crimes and anyone engaged in political activities. (§10)

Member of the public — which would presumably include victims — may request that officers deactivate their cameras for privacy reasons. Upon receiving such a request, officers “may” deactivate — which allows officers to turn their cameras off, but doesn’t require them to do so. The policy would be stronger if it said that officers “must” deactivate in such situations. (§9.b)

Officers are encouraged to notify subjects that they are being recorded. (§4)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

NYPD allows officers to view footage “in the performance of their duties.” In the event of a Level 3 use of force (deadly physical force), while officers may not view footage before turning it over to a supervisor, they may still review recordings prior to making an official statement. (§17)

Limits Retention of Footage

The NYPD policy states that the default retention period is one year, after which footage is deleted.. (§Operational Considerations)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

NYPD expressly prohibits footage tampering and unauthorized sharing of footage, and indicates that access to recorded footage will be logged and audited. (§Operational Considerations)

However, the policy does not indicate that the access to footage is logged or audited.

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy does not expressly allow individuals filing complaints to review relevant footage. (§Legal Considerations)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

NYPD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Oakland Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Oakland PD publishes the most recent publicly available version of its BWC policy on its website, linked from its Departmental Policies and Procedures page. The policy is Departmental General Order I-15.1, effective July 16, 2015.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Oakland PD requires officers to record a detailed and lengthy set of circumstances. (§II.A)

Once activated, officers must not turn off their cameras until one of the defined circumstances occurs. (§II.D.1)

The policy describes different activation and deactivation requirements for statement taking, but we omit those requirements here for brevity. (§II.D.2)

Officers may record at their discretion when not otherwise required by policy, however all camera use must be documented in writing. (§II.E, §III.C.1)

When officers fail to record, they must also document the reason in writing. (§III.C.2)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Oakland PD allows (but does not require) officers to turn off their cameras during certain sensitive situations, such as investigating a child abuse or sexual assault victim. (§§II.C.2, 4; §II.D.1.f)

Oakland PD also provides specific guidance on statement taking, but the policy is vague as to whether officers simply need to notify subjects that the camera is on, or whether officers actually need to obtain consent. (§II.D.2.a)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Oakland PD requires officers to file an initial written statement before relevant footage is reviewed, for some critical incidents, like when officers use force that results in death or serious bodily injury. Oakland PD institutes a two-step process. First, before viewing the footage, the involved officer must submit an initial report to the investigator. Second, once the initial report is approved, the officer may view the footage, and be given an opportunity to supplement the initial report (presumably, with a clear delineation of the parts of the report that were written before and after footage was reviewed). (§§IV.A.2-3)

Aside from the above circumstances, when an officer is under investigation, officers may only view relevant footage upon approval by the Criminal Investigation Division or the Internal Affairs Division. (§IV.B.)

For all other cases, officers may review relevant footage. (§IV.E)

Limits Retention of Footage

Oakland PD retains all footage for a minimum of two years, with no apparent deletion requirement. (§VI.A.3)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Oakland PD expressly prohibits footage tampering and unauthorized use. (§§I.C-E)

Each time department members view footage, they must document the reason why the footage is being accessed, indicating that all viewing is logged. (§V.B)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Oakland PD does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view footage. All non-departmental requests are handled by existing department policy on public records request (DGO M-9.1), which is not published on the department’s website. (§VII.B)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Oakland PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Oklahoma City Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

The Oklahoma City Police Department does not make its body worn camera policy publicly and readily available on their website. The latest avaialble version is from October 2015.

Oklahoma City’s body cameras were removed from June 2016 to November 2016, after an arbitrator ruled that the policy violated the contract between the city and the union. The parties came to an agreement in November 2016, but it is unclear what parts of the policy have changed as the new policy has not been published.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

OCPD clearly describes when cameras must be activated. (§188.30)

Officers also have the power to activate their BWC when they “deem it appropriate.” (§188.31)

Officers are required to make a “recorded announcement” prior to deactivating regarding the reason the camera is being deactivated. (§188.33)

OCPD also requires that officers who fail to activate their body worn cameras will provide a “supplemental report” to document their failure to record. (§188.45)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

OCPD’s policy explicitly states when the cameras should not be activated, including for reasons of privacy, and officers are not permitted to knowingly record victims. (§188.32)

When an officer comes in contact with a “voluntary contact” the officer shall receive consent from them in order to continue recording. (§180.30.1)

An officer is not required to advise a person they are being recorded unless “required by Procedure 188.30.1” (requiring officers to obtain informed consent in situations where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy). (§§188.40; 188.30)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

OCPD encourages officers to use BWC recordings to assist with the completion of reports. (§188.50)

Limits Retention of Footage

The policy has a clear retention schedule for various categories of footage, but the policy appears to assign minimum, rather than maximum, periods, without required deletion. (§188.70)

The policy adds that recordings that have no “evidentiary value” will be handled by the Digital Evidence Management Unit. (§188.51)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

OCPD prohibits officers from altering or deleting information from the BWC. (§188.35.2)

OCPD assigns the Digital Evidence Management Unit to “maintain recordings” among other things, but the policy does not prohibit unauthorized access or note that access will be logged. The policy assigns responsibility for “providing audit information” to the Body-Worn Camera Administrator but does not note what is audited in the system. (§§188.60; 188.15)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

OCPD’s policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage. However, OCPD will “provide copies of recordings” in “accordance with federal and state law.” (§188.71)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

The policy does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Omaha Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $67,500 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2015
Last updated: October 5, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

The Omaha PD publishes its most recent BWC policy online as part of its Policies and Procedures Manual, beginning on page 57, titled “Body Worn Cameras (BWC).” The most recent manual was issued on May 18, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Omaha PD clearly describes what situations must and must not be recorded. (§§VI.E,L,M)

When officers fail to record a required incident, they must provide a written justification in their Daily Report. Officers must also provide an explanation prior to deactivating their cameras. Notably, the policy also insists that supervisors investigate failures to record critical incidents. (§§VI.G,K; VII.6M)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Omaha PD provides detailed guidance about privacy considerations and prohibitions(§§VII.A; VI.L.4)

The policy allows, but does not appear to require officers to deactivate recording at the request of victims and witnesses, and does not require officers obtain informed consent. (§§VI.D; L.3)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

OPD allows officers to view recordings when preparing their reports. (§Preamble; IX.E)

Even for incidents that require “immediate retrieval of Recorded Media,” such as “employee-involved incidents,” the policy still does not explicitly bar officers from viewing footage prior to writing reports or preparing testimony. The policy indicates that such media will be classified as “LOCKED” and restricted to specific employees, but does not define who these specific employees are nor under what circumstances they may access locked footage. (§VII.A)

The “Response to Resistance – Investigative Process for Use of Force Incidents Involving Serious Injury or Death” does not add any additional details about whether officers may view footage prior to making a statement following a serious incident.

Limits Retention of Footage

Omaha PD notes that media will be retained for a period of two years, but this appears to be a minimum duration with no requirement to delete footage. (§§VIII.A-B)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

OPD prohibits the deletion, alteration, and download of footage without prior authorization. (§§IX.B-D)

The policy indicates that access to recorded footage will be audited by a system administrator for unauthorized access. (§IV.D)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

OPD does not expressly allow complainants to view footage, and forbids employees from playing back or disseminating footage outside the agency without prior authorization. (§§Disclaimer; VI.I; IX)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

OPD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Orlando Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 11, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Orlando PD does not publish its BWC policy on its website. However, a version of its policy was found on the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Body Worn Camera Toolkit. This policy was effective October 21, 2015. As of September 7, 2017 the Orlando PD has fitted about 150 officers with body worn cameras.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

The Orlando PD requires officers to record “any situation or incident that the member, through training and experience, believes should be audibly and/or visually preserved,” along with other listed scenarios, but only “if practical and without compromising the safety of the member or the public.” (§§3.2-3)

When officers decide to turn off the BWC or fail to record required incidents, Orlando PD requires them to document and justify such failures. (§3.3)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Orlando PD prohibits officers from recording “in places where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists” unless “the BWC is being used as part of an official law enforcement incident” or the officer is “conducting official law enforcement business that requires the member to use the BWC.” (§3.4)

Officers are not required to deactivate recording victims or witnesses, but are given discretion to turn off their cameras if requested. (§3.3)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

The policy encourages officers to review footage when preparing reports, but requires officers include a disclaimer that footage was reviewed. (§4)

Limits Retention of Footage

Orlando PD specifies a minimum retention period of 90 days, but does not appear to require footage deletion.(§7)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

The Orlando PD appears to expressly prohibits both footage tampering and unauthorized access, and indicates that all access to recorded footage will be logged or audited. However, the policy includes a concerning loophole indicating that members may erase or alter records when conducting “official law enforcement business that requires the member to use the BWC.” (§§3.4.g; 6)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The Orlando PD does not expressly allow individuals to view relevant footage when filing a police misconduct complaint. The policy provides that footage may be released “in response to an official inquiry or investigation” or requested via a public records request (§3.4.i, §4, §6)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Orlando PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Parker Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 11, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Parker PD provides a webpage dedicated to its BWC program, which includes a link to its most recent publicly available BWC policy, last updated on November 1, 2016.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Parker PD requires officers to record “all investigative or enforcement contacts” through the conclusion of the contact. (§§3.25.4.E-G)

When officers fail to record an entire contact, they must document the reason why that occurred. (§3.25.6)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Parker PD requires officers to notify subjects that the camera is recording. In many circumstances, including interactions with apparent crime victims, officers must offer subjects the option to stop the recording. (§§3.25.4.H-L)

In addition, officers are prohibited from recording at schools or medical facilities, with few exceptions. (§3.25.5.E)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

In certain situations, Parker PD requires officers to complete an initial report before reviewing any relevant footage. (§3.25.5.F)

In other cases, officers may view footage “for exact quotes” by individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints. (§3.25.5.G.2)

Limits Retention of Footage

Parker PD retains unflagged footage for a minimum of one year, and deletes unflagged footage within three years. (§3.25.10.A)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Parker PD expressly prohibits both footage tampering and unauthorized access, and indicates that access to recorded footage will be logged and audited. (§§3.25.5.G.4; 3.25.5.G.3; 3.25.6; 3.25.7.F-G)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Parker PD expressly allows recorded individuals (or their legal designee) to review footage of all incidents that include that individual. (§3.25.10.E)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Parker PD sharply limits the use of facial recognition technologies to perform broad searches of recorded footage. (A narrow exception is made for analyzing particular incidents using such technologies). (§3.25.5.B)

However, we are concerned that the policy limits the restriction to “video files” and “stored video and audio,” which leaves room for the incorporation of facial recognition technology into live video capture and situational awareness technology, and to “passive searches of the public,” which may be too vague to meaningfully restrict real-time biometric analysis.

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Philadelphia Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 4, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Philadelphia PD publishes its BWC policy on its website, linked from the Department’s manual of Directives. Directive 4.21 on “Body-Worn Cameras” was last updated on June 21, 2016.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Philadelphia PD requires officers to record all contact with the general public, and the entirety of each contact. (§§7-D, 4-A, 4-B)

When officers are permitted to turn off their cameras before the contact ends (e.g., for privacy reasons), officers must state the reason on camera before turning it off. (§7-J)

When officers fail to record a required event, they must notify their immediate supervisor and document the reason why the event was not recorded. (§6-H)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Philadelphia PD requires officers to turn off their cameras upon the request of a crime victim, and in certain sensitive locations and circumstances. (§§4-B, 4-C, 7-F)

In addition, because Pennsylvania is a “two-party consent” state, officers must inform subjects that they are being recorded, assuming “oral communications” are taking place. (§7-E)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Philadelphia PD allows officers to review footage when writing their reports. (§9-B-2)

Even in a critical incident, like a weapon discharge or other serious use of force, the operational protocol specifies that the officer’s camera be taken by a supervisor to the district and uploaded as soon as possible — but it does not explicitly prohibit the officer from reviewing the footage in the field before that can happen. (§7-K)

Limits Retention of Footage

Philadelphia PD specifies a minimum retention period of 30 days for unflagged footage. The policy does not clearly indicate when unflagged footage must be deleted. (§§4-D, 9-A-1)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Philadelphia PD expressly prohibits both footage tampering and unauthorized access to footage. But the policy does not indicate that access to recorded footage will be logged or audited. (§§6-E, K; 9-B-4)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Philadelphia PD relies on Pennsylvania’s public records law to make footage available, and does not expressly allow complainants to view relevant footage. (§9-A-4)

Any public release of footage must be authorized by the Commissioner. (§9-B-6)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Philadelphia PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Phoenix Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $637,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2015
Last updated: November 21, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Phoenix PD’s most recent publicly available BWC policy is contained with the department’s Operations Orders which are readily available on the department website. The policy is Operations Order 4.49 and is dated May 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Phoenix PD requires officers to record “all investigative or enforcement contacts.” (§3.B.3)

Officers are allowed discretion if “they are able to justify such a deviation” and the policy requires officers to provide concrete reasons in their incident reports. (§3.B.5)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Phoenix PD prohibits officers from recording “where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.” (§4.A.1)

The policy gives officers discretion to, but does not require them to, deactivate cameras when talking to victims. (§3.B.5)

Phoenix PD encourages, but does not require, officers to inform subjects that the camera is recording. (§2.D)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Phoenix PD allows officers to view footage before completing their reports in most cases. (§3.B.6.b)

In serious incidents, employees are prohibited from viewing BWC footage “until the detail/s responsible for the investigation arrive/s on scene and the viewing can be done in conjunction with current serious incident protocols,” but neither the BWC policy nor the Serious Incident policy (Operations Order 3.1) explictly prohibits officers from reviewing their own footage prior to making a statement. (§7.B-C)

Limits Retention of Footage

Phoenix PD specifies a minimum duration for footage retention, but does not appear to require footage deletion. (§9.A)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Phoenix PD prohibits unauthorized distribution of footage, but does not expressly prohibit unauthorized access, footage modification or deletion. The policy also does not indicate that access to recorded footage will be logged or audited. (§5.A)

The policy does require supervisors and the precinct inspections lieutenant to randomly inspect videos periodically. (§8.A-B)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Phoenix PD relies on existing public records law to make footage available, and does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view footage. (§§5.A-B,E)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Phoenix PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Pittsburgh Bureau of Police

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
 Last updated: October 5, 2017. Is this policy now publicly available? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police does not publish its BWC policy on its website. The ACLU of Pennsylvania obtained a copy via Pennsylvania Right-To-Know-Law. The policy was issued on, and appears to be effective as of, July 30, 2014.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Pittsburgh’s police outlines when officer should record, as long as it is “reasonable and safe to do so.” (§5.2)

However, the policy does not provide detailed guidance about when officers must not record, nor does it require officers to provide concrete justification for failure to record.

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

The policy references expectations of privacy, but this appears to refer to officer privacy rather than privacy interests of recorded individuals. (§5.2.7)

The policy does not provide any protections for vulnerable individuals, and while the policy requires that officers inform individuals they are being recorded “as soon as reasonably practical,” it does not require informed consent to record. (§5.2.5)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Officers are permitted to review footage prior to writing their reports. (§10.4)

Limits Retention of Footage

The policy indicates that unflagged footage is deleted after 90 days. (§9.2.8)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

The policy prohibits tampering with or deleting BWC footage, but does not expressly prohibit unauthorized access. (§§5.3.2; 6.2,4)

The policy does not indicate that access to footage is logged or audited.

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The PBP policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view all relevant footage. “Participants” on recordings may request that footage be preserved for use in civil or criminal proceeding against the department or officer. (§§9.2.2,4-6)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

PBP does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Portland Police Bureau

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 31, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Portland PD publishes its most recent publicly available body worn camera policy on its website, but it is not easy to find and doesn’t show up in the website’s search function. The policy is titled “Mobile Audio Video Procedure” and is filed under the heading “Field Operations” within the Portland PD Directives Manual, and was current as of October 17, 2017.

In March 2017, news outlets reported that conversations were ongoing about how to fund a body worn camera program. In 2015, Portland PD had been accepting feedback on the BWCs from the public through an online form, but it is unclear whether they are still doing so.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Portland PD provides officers with a clear list of situations that must be recorded. (Required Activation of MAV (630.70))

In addition, Portland PD allows officers to turn on their cameras “any time he/she believes its use would be appropriate and/or valuable to document an incident.” (Required Activation of MAV (630.70))

The policy requires officers to continue recording “until the officer has cleared the scene of the incident or the transport is concluded.” (Required Activation of MAV (630.70))

However, Portland PD does not require officers to provide concrete justifications when they fail to record required events.

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Portland PD does not address personal privacy concerns and encourages its officers to record statements from victims and witnesses. (Members’ Responsibilities (630.70)(d))

Officers are encouraged to notify subjects that the camera is recording “as soon as possible,” but are under no obligation to turn off their cameras at the request of vulnerable individuals. (PROCEDURE (630.70))

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Officers may review footage before writing their reports for all incidents, except “during investigations involving the use of deadly force or in an in-custody death, where the officer was neither a witness nor directly involved in the incident.” (Operation Protocols (630.70)(c))

Limits Retention of Footage

Portland PD specifies a minimum retention period of six months and does not appear to require footage deletion. (Video Media Storage and Integrity (630.70), Retention Of Recordings (630.70)(c))

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

Portland PD expressly prohibits both footage tampering and unauthorized access, but does not indicate that access to recorded footage will be logged or audited. (Operation Protocols (630.70)(a), Media Duplication (630.70)(b))

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy describes situations and individuals who are allowed to view recordings, but does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view footage. (Review of MAV Recordings (630.70), Copies of Video Recordings (630.70))

The policy also indicates that footage will be only be released through “a valid court order, approved public record request, or upon approval by the Chief of Police or his/her designee” and will be referred to different offices for processing, depending on the nature of the request. (Copies of Video Recordings (630.70), Public Records and Discovery Requests (630.70))

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Portland PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Prince George’s County Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Last updated: October 11, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Prince George’s County PD (PGPD) does not publish its BWC policy on its website. However, a version of its policy was found on the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Body Worn Camera Toolkit. This policy was effective April 18, 2015.

As of February 10, 2017, the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) had planned to implement its body-worn camera program before April 2017. Earlier this year, PGPD was criticized for not permitting the public to review or comment on the policy before it went into effect.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

The policy provides a clear list of citizen contacts that must be recorded. (§§IV.7; V.3-4)

When officers fail to record required incidents, PGPD requires them to document and justify such failures. (§§IV.4; IV.14)

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

While the policy mentions the importance of personal privacy, it offers vague guidance on when officers must not record, and does not require informed consent from vulnerable individuals. (§§IV.10.e,g; V.5.d)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

The policy requires officers to complete written reports “in conjunction with the BWC recordings,” but it’s unclear what this means. (§IV.12)

Limits Retention of Footage

The policy requires that footage be tagged, but it is unclear whether unflagged footage must be deleted. (§V.6)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

PGPD prohibits officers from destroying, altering, or releasing any recordings without permission of the Chief of Police. But there is no indication that unauthorized access is prohibited, nor that all access to recorded footage will be logged or audited. (§IV.10.a-b)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

The policy does not expressly allow individuals who are filing police misconduct complaints to view relevant footage. (§IV.10.c)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

PGPD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Raleigh Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $600,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2016
Last updated: October 12, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Raleigh Police Department’s (Raleigh PD’s) draft policy on body worn cameras is accessible via the department website. One must search “body worn cameras” on Raleigh PD’s website in order to locate the draft policy. The draft policy does not indicate an effective date. As of October 11, 2017, Raleigh PD was accepting public comments on its BWC program via email at RaleighBWC@raleighnc.gov.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Raleigh PD clearly describes when officers must record and requires officers to continue recording “until the conclusion of the officer’s involvement in an event.” (§Guidelines for BWC Operation: Use of the Body Worn Camera, §Guidelines for BWC Operation: Deactivation)

When officers deactivate recording prior to the completion of an event, they must justify the failure verbally on camera before deactivation. (§Guidelines for BWC Operation: Deactivation)

However, the policy does not require that officers who fail to record required events provide concrete justifications.

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Raleigh PD prohibits recording in certain sensitive locations and circumstances such as within medical facilities and during privileged communications, as well as “in places where a heightened expectation of personal privacy exists…unless there is a need to capture criminal activity or a physical arrest.” (§Guidelines for BWC Operation: Restricted Uses)

The policy specifically protects categories of vulnerable individuals. (§Guidelines for BWC Operation: Deactivation)

However, officers are not required to deactivate recording victims or witnesses, but are given discretion to turn off their cameras if requested. (§Guidelines for BWC Operation: Deactivation)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Raleigh PD allows officers to view relevant footage before filing an initial written report or statement. (§Collection, Storage and Management of MVR and BWC Data: Officer Review of Recordings)

Limits Retention of Footage

The policy requires that the Department retain footage categorized as “Default/Infractions/Traffic Stop” for 90 days. However, it is not clear whether this is a minimum or maximum retention period, and the policy does not appear to require that footage be deleted. (§Collection, Storage and Management of MVR and BWC Data: Officer Review of Recordings)

Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse

The policy prohibits officers from attempting to “erase, edit, or otherwise alter any data captured by a BWC or MVR,” but does not prohibit unauthorized access nor indicate that access to footage will be logged or audited. (§Collection, Storage and Management of MVR and BWC Data: Officer Review of Recordings)

Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints

Raleigh PD expressly allows a recorded individual to request to view footage “in certain circumstances.” The policy also, commendably, clearly lay out the process of requesting to view relevant footage, and is one of the few policies we have seen that does so. (§Audio/Video Recording Media Disclosure and Release)

Limits Biometric Searching of Footage

Raleigh PD does not place any limits on the use of biometric technologies (e.g., facial recognition) to search footage.

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Rochester Police Department

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available
Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record
Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns
Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing
Limits Retention of Footage
Protects Footage Against Tampering and Misuse
Makes Footage Available to Individuals Filing Complaints
Limits Biometric Searching of Footage
Received a $600,000 DOJ grant for BWCs in 2015
Last updated: October 6, 2017. Is there a new version of this policy? Let us know.

Makes the Department Policy Publicly and Readily Available

Rochester PD publishes its most recent publicly available BWC policy online on the Body Worn Camera Project section of its website. The most recent policy is the RPD BWC Manual, which was issued on August 31, 2017.

Limits Officer Discretion on When to Record

Officers assigned a BWC are required to activate their cameras immediately after being dispatched, unless there is an “imminent threat to the member’s safety.” (§IV.A.2)

The policy mandates that cameras must be activated in the “course of performing or when present at any enforcement activity” and “police duties.” RPD’s policy is clear that there is no exception to this rule, and clearly defines what an enforcement activity is. (§IV.B.1; IV.C)

RPD provides a list of situations in which officers have the option to record if they believe it to be for a “legitimate law enforcement purpose.” (§IV.D)

Officers must continue to use their BWC until the completion of the event or incident, and prior to deactivating their BWC officers are expected to record a “verbal statement” noting the end of the recording. (§VI.A.6).

However, RPD’s policy does not require officers to provide concrete justifications for failing to record required events.

Addresses Personal Privacy Concerns

Rochester PD forbids officers from recording in “sensitive locations,” unless they are engaging in enforcement activity. (§IV.E.1.A.C)

RPD’s policy specifies a list of scenarios in which officers are prohibited from recording. While the policy protects individuals in a “locker room or bathroom,” there is no mention of vulnerable individuals such as victims of sex crimes. (§IV.F.4.8)

Officers are encouraged, but not required, to inform individuals that they are being recorded with a BWC. (§IV.I)

The policy allows citizens to request that an officer stop recording, and gives officers some discretion as to whether to comply. Officers have discretion to stop recording upon request during “Optional Recording events” which includes interviews of victims, but the policy does not provide explicit protection for especially vulnerable individuals. (§IV.E.2)

Interestingly, the policy also requires police to begin recording an interaction at the request of a civilian. (§IV.E.2)

Prohibits Officer Pre-Report Viewing

Rochester PD allows officers to view BWC record