BWC Public Release

Does the policy specify a process to receive and process public records requests for BWC footage?

Sample Policy 1: All requests made under the Open Records Act shall be forwarded to the Chief of Police or his designee.
Sample Policy 2: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for BWC video will be addressed by the Commander or his/her designee. BWC video that contains footage of serious injury or death will be released only with the approval of the Chief of Police or his/her designee. Because a companion criminal investigation is completed in many critical incidents and during all cases involving the use of deadly force, such release will usually occur only after consultation with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.
Consistent with our goal of increased transparency, BWC video depicting routine officer interactions of a noncriminal nature will be released according to the provisions of FOIA. All such video will be reviewed critically to ensure that the privacy rights of all citizens are protected. BWC program administrators and FOIA compliance personnel will ensure that all appropriate video redactions take place prior to releasing any BWC video.
Sample Policy 3: FOIA requests and/or subjects depicted or parent/legal guardians thereof may be allowed to view recordings through a formal request forwarded to the office of the Chief of Police. The recording in question will be reviewed for restricted content and may be redacted if authorized by the Chief of Police. If no circumstances exist to restrict the viewing, then the viewing will be allowed. A viewing opportunity will be arranged and coordinated through the office of the Chief of Police within a reasonable period of time following said authorization.
Sample Policy 4: Open records requests for copies of recordings from persons or agencies outside of the department shall be directed, in writing, to the Open Records Unit. Open records requests submitted by the media shall be directed, in writing, to the Media and Public Relations Office.

Does the policy specify a process for BWC review and redaction prior to release?

Sample Policy 1: Consistent with our goal of increased transparency, BWC video depicting routine officer interactions of a noncriminal nature will be released according to the provisions of FOIA. All such video will be reviewed critically to ensure that the privacy rights of all citizens are protected. BWC program administrators and FOIA compliance personnel will ensure that all appropriate video redactions take place prior to releasing any BWC video.
Sample Policy 2: Redaction: It may be determined that the BWC cannot be disclosed if it (1) contains information that is otherwise confidential or exempt from disclosure or release under state or federal law; (2) if disclosure would reveal information regarding a person that is of a highly sensitive personal nature; (3) if disclosure may harm the reputation or jeopardize the safety of a person; (4) if disclosure would create a serious threat to the fair, impartial, and orderly administration of justice; and/or (5) if confidentiality is necessary to protect either an active or inactive internal or criminal investigation or potential internal or criminal investigation. In that event, the Administrator may redact the portion(s) of the recording that prevents the disclosure so that those entitled to disclosure may still view portion(s) of the recording.
Sample Policy 3: From time to time, there may be an incident where sensitive information has been recorded and needs to be redacted to protect the innocent. The possibilities are too great to list. Some examples of such incidents where redaction may be needed are as follow: the face of a witness who fears for his/her safety or wishes his/her identity not be disclosed; the date of birth of a witness who fears for his/her safety; personal information such as Social Security Numbers, telephone numbers, or residential addresses; the faces of juveniles, the name of juveniles, children victims of sexual assault, or children witnesses; credit/debit card numbers, banking information, information spoken about medical treatment, or photos showing a deceased person. This list could go on indefinitely; however, it shall be the policy of the Sheriff’s Office to handle each incident that is in need of redaction on a case-by-case basis. If a recording shall be in need of redaction, the reason and brief explanation of what was redacted shall be documented in the metadata of the specific video.