A rollout of a pilot program for body-worn cameras is underway by our Police Department. Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. proposed the pilot program in December 2016 and it was approved by the Board of Supervisors late last year.
Police body-worn cameras have been in the news and there have been questions about how the cameras will be used in our county. Here are four things you should know:
When fully implemented by mid-March, 230 body-worn cameras will be distributed to trained officers at these three police stations:
These locations were selected because of the diversity of the communities and the varying types of calls for service and incidents resulting in the use of force. Not every officer at each of these stations will be issued a camera.
We are working with a research team at American University who will gather and study data over the course of the pilot program. It is important to have a control group in each station to allow for a more accurate compilation of data.
“We want to see if the introduction of body-worn cameras has any impacts on the community’s sense of police legitimacy,” says SPA’s Brad Bartholomew in an WTOP interview about a new project with Fairfax County, Virginia. https://t.co/V0gwvgAqml
— SchoolPublicAffairs (@AU_SPA) February 26, 2018
Officers will be expected to activate the body-worn camera during any law enforcement-public encounter related to a call for service, law enforcement action, subject stop, traffic stop, search or police service. The officer should start recording at their arrival/response, or as soon as it is practical and safe to do so and leave it on for the duration of the incident.
Watch and learn more:
Our policy for the body-worn camera pilot program was drafted with input from community members, including leaders of special interest, civic and business organizations. The policy addresses the personal privacy rights and constitutional safeguards of individuals while ultimately seeking to promote transparency and accountability in police-community member encounters.