Implementing a Body-Worn Camera: Program Recommendations and Lessons Learned

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    Implementing a

    Body-WornCamera ProgramRecommendations and Lessons Learned

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    This project was supported by cooperative agreement number 2012-CK-WX-K028 awarded by the Office of

    Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions contained herein are those of the

    author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References

    to specific agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s) or

    the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues.

    The Internet references cited in this publication were valid as of the date of publication. Given that URLs and websitesare in constant flux, neither the author(s) nor the COPS Office can vouch for their current validity.

    The points of view expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions of individual Police Executive

    Research Forum members.

    Recommended citation:Miller, Lindsay, Jessica Toliver, and Police Executive Research Forum. 2014.Implementing a Body-Worn Camera Program:

    Recommendations and Lessons Learned. Washington, DC: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

    ISBN: 978-1-934485-26-2

    Published 2014

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    ContentsLetter from the PERF Executive Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . v

    Letter from the COPS Office Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii

    Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ix

    Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

    State of the field and policy analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

    Project overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

    Chapter 1. Perceived Benefits of Body-Worn Cameras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

    Accountability and transparency. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

    Reducing complaints and resolving officer-involved incidents. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

    Identifying and correcting internal agency problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

    Evidence documentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

    Chapter 2. Considerations for Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

    Privacy considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11Determining when to record . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

    Consent to record . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

    Recording inside private homes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

    Data storage, retention, and disclosure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

    Lessons learned on privacy considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

    Impact on community relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

    Securing community support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21

    Protecting intelligence-gathering efforts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

    Lessons learned about impact on community relationships. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

    Addressing officer concerns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24Officer concerns about body-worn cameras. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

    Addressing officer concerns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

    Incremental implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

    Lessons learned about addressing officer concerns. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

    Managing expectations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

    Officer review of video prior to making statements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

    Lessons learned about managing expectations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

    Financial considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

    Cost of implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

    Cost-saving strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

    Lessons learned about financial considerations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

    Chapter 3. Body-Worn Camera Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

    General recommendations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

    Recording protocols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

    Download and storage policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

    Recorded data access and review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

    Training policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

    Policy and program evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

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    Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

    Appendix A. Recommendations Matrix. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

    Policy recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

    General recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

    Recording protocols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

    Download and storage policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59Training policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

    Policy and program evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

    Additional lessons learned: engaging officers, policymakers, and the community . . . 67

    Appendix B. Conference attendees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

    About PERF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

    About the COPS Office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79

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    vi Implementing a Body-Worn Camera Program: Recommendations and Lessons Learned

    a certain amount of discretion concerning when to turn their cameras on or off. This discretion is

    important because it recognizes that officers are professionals and because it allows flexibility in

    situations in which drawing a legalistic bright line rule is impossible.

    For example, an officer at a crime scene may encounter a witness who would prefer not to be

    recorded. By using discretion, the officer can reach the best solution in balancing the evidentiary

    value of a recorded statement with the witnesss reluctance to be recorded. The decision may hingeon the importance of what the witness is willing to say. Or perhaps the witness will agree to be

    recorded by audio but not video, so the officer can simply point the camera away from the witness.

    Or perhaps the witness will be willing to be recorded later, in a more private setting. By giving

    officers some discretion, they can balance the conflicting values. Without this discretion, body-worn

    cameras have the potential to damage important relationships that officers have built with members

    of the community. This discretion should not be limitless; instead, it should be guided by caref