BWC Viewing

Does policy specify authority of officer to review BWC footage he/she recorded under routine circumstances (e.g., completing report, traffic stops, arrest with no complaint or use of force used, preparing for court, etc.)?

Sample Policy 1: A department member who has been assigned a BWC device may review his or her own BWC recording to help ensure accuracy and consistency of accounts. To prevent damage, original recordings shall be viewed only by members who
are assigned a BWC device through means authorized by the department. Any review of a BWC by the officer shall be documented in the incident report corresponding with the incident.
Sample Policy 2: A police officer may review a recording from his or her body-worn recording equipment in order to assist such officer with the preparation of a report or otherwise in the performance of his or her duties.
Sample Policy 3: Any officer may review the in-car camera and BWC electronic media prior to making any statements or writing their report unless otherwise directed by the Chief or his designee. Situations where an officer may not be permitted by the Chief or his designee to review their in-car camera or BWC electronic media prior to making any statement or writing a report shall include but are not limited to a serious officer-involved use of force, discharge of a firearm, or in-custody death. The purpose of this denial of access is to ensure that the statement or report made by the officer is made wholly based upon the officer’s perspective of the event. Minor discrepancies of facts, timeline distortion, or missed details are a normal psychological response to stress and shall not be considered as dishonesty.

Does policy specify authority of other officers to review each other’s BWC footage?

Sample Policy 1: Agents will have access to review any BWC recordings when preparing written reports or statements.
Sample Policy 2: Witness Department members will be allowed to review BWC video only if it can be determined that their on-scene position would allow them to simultaneously perceive events in question from the same perspective as the involved member.
Sample Policy 3: Officers will not have access to independently view video files created by another officer. Officers may view another officer’s video with his/her consent. Such viewing shall only be for legitimate law enforcement purposes.
Sample Policy 4: Officers will not have access to view video files created by another officer.  

How does policy address supervisory review of BWC footage for administrative investigations?

Sample Policy 1: Supervisors may access and review BWC video of officers directly under their command. Any such review is permitted as follow-up to a complaint investigation or any other ongoing training or performance-related issue.
Sample Policy 2: The Operations Division Commander/designee is responsible for reviewing nonevidential BWC events in an effort to ensure the equipment is operating properly, assess officers’ performance and adherence to written directives and established professional standards, and identify other training needs.

  1. Upon completion of said reviews, the reviewer shall document any positive or negative activities observed. This should include any recommendations for training and/or discipline resulting from the observations.
  2. The Operations Division Commander/designee is responsible for conducting a review to determine if any individual or group patterns of noncompliance exist. The results shall be forwarded to the Internal Affairs Unit to address the individual officer or the appropriate group through training and or discipline.
  3. Separate from the above-mentioned review of randomly selected officers, the Internal Affairs Unit or any other member of the command staff may review specific BWC footage at any time if circumstances arise that require an investigative effort.

Does policy address supervisory review BWC footage for policy compliance (e.g., activation)?  

Sample Policy 1: Supervisors may access and review BWC video of officers directly under their command. Supervisors and BWC Program administrators will conduct audits to ensure employees are in compliance with department policy and recording/tagging protocols.
Sample Policy 2: All supervisors are expected to routinely review BWC recordings created by their direct subordinates. A monthly review shall be completed for the previous month, ensuring that videos are being labeled and that the labeling is of the correct formatting. Additionally, during this review supervisors shall be viewing multiple videos from each officer under their supervision, looking at the content of the video. While viewing these videos supervisors should be looking for any videos that would be beneficial to other officers in terms of training videos. Supervisors will complete the “Monthly Squad BWC Review Form” and save an electronic copy within the appropriate folder on the system. Additionally, an electronic copy of this form shall be forwarded through the chain to the supervisor’s commanding officer for review.

Does policy address supervisory review of BWC footage for general performance review?  

Sample Policy 1: Supervisors may access and review BWC video of officers directly under their command; however, this should not be done on a routine basis to simply review employee performance. Any such review is permitted as follow-up to a complaint investigation or any other ongoing training or performance-related issue.
Sample Policy 2: Supervisors and BWC Program administrators will conduct audits to ensure employees are in compliance with department policy and recording/tagging protocols. During any review, supervisors should remain watchful of outstanding or noteworthy performance and issue memorandums of noteworthy performance as they deem appropriate.
Sample Policy 3: The Operations Division Commander/designee is responsible for reviewing nonevidential BWC events in an effort to ensure that the equipment is
operating properly, assess officers’ performance and adherence to written directives and established professional standards, and identify other training needs.

  1. Upon completion of said reviews, the reviewer shall document any positive or negative activities observed. This should include any recommendations for training and/or discipline resulting from the observations.
  2. The Operations Division Commander/designee is responsible for conducting a review to determine if any individual or group patterns of noncompliance exist. The results shall be forwarded to the Internal Affairs Unit to address the individual officer or the appropriate group through training and/or discipline.
  3. Separate from the above-mentioned review of randomly selected officers, the Internal Affairs Unit or any other member of the command staff may review specific BWC footage at any time if circumstances arise that require an investigative effort.

Does policy specify authority and conditions for review of BWC footage by training personnel?  

Sample 1: Officers are encouraged to inform their supervisors of any recordings that may be of value for training purposes.
Sample 2: A monthly review shall be completed for the previous month, ensuring that videos are being labeled and that the labeling is of the correct formatting. Additionally, during this review, supervisors shall be viewing multiple videos from each officer under their supervision, looking at the content of the video. While viewing these videos, supervisors should be looking for any videos that would be beneficial to other officers in terms of training videos.
Notifications of the existence of recordings that may be beneficial for training purposes shall be forwarded via the chain of command to the commanding officer of the Training Division for determination of training value and use. If an involved officer objects to the use of a recording for training purposes, he may submit his objection, in writing, via the chain of command to both the commanding officer of the Training Division and the deputy chief of the Management Bureau to determine whether the training value outweighs the officer’s objection.
Sample Policy 3: Recordings from body-worn cameras may be shown for training purposes upon completion of a criminal case. All such use shall be pursuant to the written authority of the Chief of Police.

Does policy specify process for BWC review following a use of force, complaint, or critical incident (e.g., officer-involved shooting, pursuit)?  

Sample Policy 1: A department member involved in any use of force incident or accident causing injuries will be permitted, but will not be required, to review his or her own BWC video recordings prior to providing a recorded statement or completing reports. Witness Department members will be allowed to review BWC video only if it can be determined
that their on-scene position would allow them to simultaneously perceive events in question from the same perspective as the involved member.
Sample Policy 2: If a police officer is giving a formal statement about the use of force, or if an officer is the subject of a disciplinary investigation in which a recording from body-worn recording equipment is being considered as part of a review of an incident, the police officer shall have the right to review such recording in the presence of the officer's attorney or labor representative. Further, such police officers shall have the right to review recordings from other police officers' body-worn recording equipment capturing the police officers' image or voice during the incident under review.
Sample Policy 3: Sworn personnel involved in a critical incident may view and/or listen to BWC recordings of the incident only after the sworn personnel meet with the Police Federation representative or legal counsel, if requested, and the sworn personnel and legal counsel meet with the Homicide Unit Commander or designee regarding the process for a critical incident and the process of a voluntary statement, as afforded in General Order: Investigations-Incidents Where Serious Injury or Death Result During Police Custody or Involvement.
Sample Policy 4: Any officer may review the in-car camera and BWC electronic media prior to making any statements or writing their report, unless otherwise directed by the Chief or his/her designee. Situations where an officer may not be permitted by the Chief or his/her designee to review their in-car camera or BWC electronic media prior to making any statement or writing a report shall include but are not limited to a serious officer-involved use of force, discharge of a firearm, or in-custody death. The purpose of this denial of access is to ensure that the statement or report made by the officer is done wholly based on the officer’s perspective of the event. Minor discrepancies of facts, timeline distortion, or missed details are a normal psychological response to stress and shall not be considered dishonesty.
Sample Policy 5: Officers who use deadly force, or officers who witness officer(s) involved in uses of deadly force, will not review body-worn camera video until they are interviewed by criminal investigators, and a supervisor in the Operation Bureau gives the approval for the review of the video. However, prior to the conclusion of the interview, the investigator will review the body-worn camera video with the involved officer or witness officer and allow for additional statements or clarification to be documented in a distinct section of the investigator’s report.

Does policy specify public sharing of BWC footage (e.g., at a scene)?  

Sample Policy 1: Officers shall not share BWC recordings with any member of the public or any employee unless it is required in the performance of their official duties and consistent with state and federal law.
Sample Policy 2: Community members, suspects, or detainees shall be allowed to review the recordings of BWCs only upon approval of a supervisor, as allowed by law.

Does policy specify process for coordination with “downstream” criminal justice actors (prosecutors, defense, courts)?  

Sample Policy 1: All BWC media involving arrest shall be treated as evidence and shall be handled in accordance with this agency’s current evidence procedures.

  1. Data Review and Evaluation of BWC
    1. The following persons are also entitled to request and receive such data pursuant to the State Rules of Criminal Procedure, the State Rules of Civil Procedure, or a court order:
      1. a person who is the subject of the recording;
      2. a criminal defendant if the recording is relevant to a pending criminal action;
      3. a civil litigant if the recording is relevant to a pending civil action;
      4. a person whose property has been seized or damaged in relation to, or is otherwise involved with, a crime to which the recording is related;
      5. a parent or legal guardian of a minor or incapacitated person described in sub-item (1) or (2); and
      6. an attorney for a person described in sub-items (a) through (e).
    2. Requests to view or obtain a copy of any data recorded by a body worn camera will be submitted in writing to the Chief Deputy. If approved, the agency system administrator will arrange for the viewing and/or copies to be distributed.

Sample Policy 2: Law allows for disclosure or release to a District Attorney for review of potential criminal charges in order to comply with discovery requirements in a criminal prosecution, for use in criminal proceedings in district court, or any other law enforcement purpose. In order to facilitate the sharing of these recordings, upon request from the District Attorney, the final investigating officer will create an electronic case within the remote digital storage system. This officer will then share the case rather than the individual recording(s) with the District Attorney through the remote digital storage system.
The process of creating and sharing of electronic cases with the District Attorney’s Office may be assisted by the court liaison officer for cases that have not been assigned to another officer or detective for further follow-up investigation.
At the direction of the District Attorney’s Office, officers may facilitate disclosure of BWC footage to defense attorneys for cases in which they are the charging officer and the case has been set on the court docket. This will be facilitated through the officer’s Evidence.com account and will require that the officer providing disclosure notate in the BWC video storage system notes field the district attorney directing the disclosure as well as the defense attorney requesting disclosure.
Sample Policy 3: Criminal Cases Prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office (DAO):

  1. BWC personnel and city IT will assist with coordinating direct server access to DAO officials for the purpose of obtaining BWC recordings for criminal prosecutions.
  2. DAs will directly provide defendants with copies of BWC recordings in criminal cases as it deems necessary.
  3. DA will be responsible for any required redactions in BWC recordings it provides to defendants.
  4. In the event the DA needs assistance in obtaining BWC recordings needed for criminal prosecutions, BWC personnel will assist as needed to ensure necessary BWC recordings are obtained by DA.

Other Criminal Cases:

  1. Requests by other prosecuting offices (e.g., U.S. Attorney’s Office, State Attorney General’s Office, etc.) will be referred to BWC personnel.
  2. BWC personnel will identify BWC recordings that may be responsive to the request and provide copies of the requested recordings to the prosecutor.
  3. BWC personnel will be responsible for any necessary redactions, as requested by the prosecutor.

Defense Subpoenas or Demands in Criminal Cases:

  1. Defense subpoenas or demands for BWC recordings will be referred to BWC personnel.
  2. BWC personnel will consult with the city’s Corporation Counsel and the appropriate prosecuting office.
  3. BWC personnel will identify BWC recordings that may be responsive to the defense subpoena or demand.
  4. BWC personnel will provide copies as advised by the city’s Corporation Counsel and/or the prosecuting office.
  5. Prior to providing any copies, BWC personnel will review the BWC recording and determine if any redactions may be required. BWC personnel will consult with the city’s Corporation Counsel and the appropriate prosecuting office and follow legal guidance regarding any required redactions.
  6. BWC personnel will provide the appropriate prosecuting office with copies of any BWC recording provided to the defense as needed.

Civil and Administrative Noncriminal Proceedings.

  1. Requests, subpoenas, court orders, or other demands for BWC recordings in civil, administrative, or other noncriminal proceedings will be referred to BWC personnel.
  2. BWC personnel will consult with the city’s Corporation Counsel in such cases.
  3. BWC personnel will identify BWC recordings that may be responsive to the request.
  4. BWC personnel will provide copies as advised by the city’s Corporation Counsel.
  5. Prior to providing any copies, BWC personnel will review the BWC recording and determine if any redactions may be required. BWC personnel will consult with the city’s Law Department and follow legal guidance regarding any required redactions.