BWC Deactivation

Does policy provide guidance on appropriate BWC deactivation (when and how to deactivate)?

Sample Policy 1: Officers deactivating their BWC for any reason other than one of those listed in the section on restrictions for BWC recording must indicate on the BWC recording their reason for deactivating prior to ending the recording. Additionally, the officer must notify their supervisor of the deactivation and be able to articulate the reason for doing so.
Sample Policy 2: If BWC recording is interrupted or terminated prior to the end of the incident, the deputy should narrate the reason for terminating the recording prior to deactivating the BWC.
Sample Policy 3: Under normal circumstances, once a decision has been made to record an event, an officer may not stop the recording prior to the completion of the event/citizen encounter, unless directed to do so by a supervisor. In cases that are not deemed to be critical or dangerous, circumstances may dictate that an officer stop the recording for modesty/privacy concerns. If practical, and only when safety permits, an officer faced with such a situation may temporarily shield the video camera and continue to record only the audio portion of the incident/event. If an officer makes such a decision, he/she should verbally narrate the reason for temporarily shielding the camera. If officer safety does not permit such an action, the officer is not required to terminate the recording.
Officers involved in prolonged incidents where continued recording is impractical may seek approval from a supervisor to terminate recording with their BWC. In making their decision, supervisors should consider the continued necessity to capture video footage and the individual officer’s assignment. If the officer’s assignment changes, it is the responsibility of the officer to reactivate his/her BWC consistent with the guidelines of this policy.
Sample Policy 4: Only under the following circumstances may an officer deactivate their BWC prior to concluding their involvement in an event:

  • Prior to conducting a strip search, the officer will record a 360-degree video of the location where the strip search will be conducted. During the actual strip search, the BWC shall be utilized to capture only audio of the event by positioning the camera away from the subject of the search.
  • When taking statements from/conducting interviews of persons who are victims of a crime of a sexual nature or medical professionals providing information pertaining to related examination(s) of the victim. Upon completion of the interview, the BWC should be reactivated until completion of the event.
  • When taking statements from juvenile witnesses/victims. Upon completion of the interview, the BWC should be reactivated until completion of the event.
  • When requested to do so by victims or witnesses prior to beginning an interview, taking a statement, or gathering information (this applies only when the scene is orderly and the situation is under control and NOT to the relaying of initial suspect information to be disseminated to other officers or for the purpose of initial alerts). The citizen's request to deactivate the BWC shall be captured on the BWC recording prior to deactivation. Upon completion of the interview, the BWC should be reactivated until completion of the event.
  • When continuing to record would hinder the cooperation of a nonsuspect.
  • When an officer can articulate that continuing to record could compromise the safety or security of a witness or victim.
  • If it is determined that the interaction involves a known confidential informant while they are providing information regarding an investigation or potential investigation as an informant.

Does policy provide guidance on citizen requests for non-recording or BWC deactivation?

Sample Policy 1: If the citizen objects to being recorded, the officer will note this on the video and end the recording. The intention to stop the recording will be noted by the officer verbally on the BWC.
Sample Policy 2: If a request is made for a BWC to be turned off by a party being contacted, the officer should take into account the overall circumstances and what is most beneficial to all involved before deciding to honor the request. For example, an officer may choose to turn off the BWC if its operation is inhibiting a victim or witness from giving a statement. Factors to consider may include the type of call and the vulnerability of the victim, such as the victim of a sexual assault.
Sample Policy 3: Individuals do not have the authority to order an officer to cease or limit recording.