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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Body cam. Are obviously more and more common. I was wonder if you guys have it pushed down your throat, or were you able to work with your city, towns, department or union to set up its use and operation. My department will be getting them soon and there are a few things we are looking for in our next union contract and sop. We have been playing around with some contractual language such as the offers shall have access to the full un-redacted video. Two, data collected can only be used for the critical incident and not to be used for disciplinary action. So let's say we are responding to a disturbance when you arrive it it goes south and now turns into a use of force. Now after review of the footage the uof was good, but on the way to the call you fail to come to a complete stop at a red light at 3am. Or you fail to activate the camera in a timely fashion. And then thats what your admin wants to jam you up with..
 

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My department has had in-car video for about 10 years. We've had body worn video (BWV) cameras for about 6 years now.

We do have policies related to the BWV. Anytime we make contact with someone for investigative or enforcement action, the camera shall be on. Anytime we drive code-3 (lights and siren) the camera shall be on. I can tell you first hand, the cameras are extremely beneficial for personnel complaints, use of force incidents, and officer involved shootings (OIS). They do have their minor drawbacks but the benefits far outweigh them.

We are allowed to watch the videos before writing a use of force report. We are also allowed to watch our videos before being formally interviewed after an OIS.

We can face "discipline" if other things are seen during the videos, although that doesn't mean it will happen. For example, we shall wear our seatbelts while driving, especially in pursuits. Not wearing one could be discipline of some type. Using profanity when not appropriate could also be. (We call it "tactical language" when it's used during a critical incident and the suspect isn't listening.) Reckless driving while responding to a call or a pursuit could be discipline. Not activating our cameras in a timely manner is also potential discipline, especially after being warned numerous times.

Keeping in mind we are considered "para-military" organizations. That means we are potentially subject to discipline during the performance of our duties.... and sometimes rightfully so.
 

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Get off my lawn!
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We are allowed to watch the videos before writing a use of force report. We are also allowed to watch our videos before being formally interviewed after an OIS.
This is one of the key points to my concerns. Can the video be accessed right away by that officer or is it seized first as evidence, secured, and have its chain of custody logged or maintained?
 

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Other than an actual OIS, we can access our videos right away. They can either by viewed on the cell phone that comes with the BWV camera, or they are downloaded on a computer where they can be watched. Regarding an OIS, we cannot watch those right away. They are "locked down" right away. However, we can watch them with our union lawyer before being formally interviewed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
However, we can watch them with our union lawyer before being formally interviewed.
Is that the first time the raw video is being viewed, or can the higher up's (brass) see it first allowing them to analyze and critique the video then they release it to the officer and the union rep?
 

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Is that the first time the raw video is being viewed, or can the higher up's (brass) see it first allowing them to analyze and critique the video then they release it to the officer and the union rep?
We are normally interviewed the same day as the OIS so there isn't much time for the Command Staff to view the video before we do, however, they can if they want to. They can critique it all they want; as the cliché goes, "it is what it is." We can't go back and fix it after it's over just because we may be criticized by the Command Staff.

We critique videos on here all the time. Once the incident is over, it's there for all to see at some point. If we did a great job, then great! If we screwed up, they're gonna see it eventually, sooner or later. We can't blame the "brass" for critiquing us if we made mistakes, that's on us. That's why training is so crucial so when the time comes and it hits the fan, we perform properly, or at least the best we can and not like we see in many of the "Critical Incident" videos we see on here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I haven’t seen anyone get jammed for stuff unrelated to the actual incident in my time as a union rep.

I was hesitant at first but in the end they are working out. I wish we had them for the only OIS I was at. Would have made things alot easier for everyone involved.
...Yet, you haven't seen it yet. Now, I had the same mentality as you, but when I see more officers being exonerated of false claims I have now seen the light and have become pro body cam and welcome them gladly, at the same time being cautiously optimistic. I don't want to see body cam footage used just to weed out guys because they don't fit in.
 

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I disagree, the committee is where they sent the idea to die. The aclu and others no longer like body cameras as they aren't fitting the narrative. Also check out what NJ did this week, made it illegal for officers to review after a use of force incident.

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I've hesitated to reply to this thread for a number of reasons... I'm now retired, my body camera experience was in another state, and we started back in 2015 or so...

I've seen the BWC footage clear officers of complaints on multiple occasions. Discourtesy on a traffic stop, theft of personal property during a search for narcotics and false arrest ("that wasn't my son he stopped, someone else used his ID.")

Every one of those complaints went south (some spectacularly) when the video was shown to the complainants. I'm sure there were other occasions, those are the ones I knew about and/or was directly involved with.
 

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Apparently the policies and procedures regarding BWV cameras vary from state to state and city to city. Either way, I still believe they have great value in critical incidents, especially nowadays when many people aren't too happy with us as a profession.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Now I concur with everyone here that body cams are good thing. If a false complaint is made, specifically from the public, the officer will be exonerated by the video captured if he did the right thing. Several members here both past and present can attest once a watch commander advises the complainant there is video of the interaction the complaint dies on the phone or in the station lobby.

My concerns are within smaller departments and officers having to deal with the potential of vexatious allegations of policy and procedural violations by their current administration or even fellow officers. I can assure you we all have had that one guy who would write their own mother on a traffic stop, and they certainly would not mind jamming up a fellow officer for what ever reason. Maybe they like run their mouth, or have an old beef with an officer, is known to have the nut to file grievances and are always making waves, basically they just don’t clique with everyone else. But it doesn’t make them bad cops.

Now I know what you are thinking “Rod, you can’t make baseless claims against officers without fear of disciplinary repercussions.” My answer to that is the sworn individual(s) making such claims know, especially now in today’s day and age, that any type of misconduct claim is going to be taking very seriously and will land the officer in internal affairs. The officer still must go through the whole dog and pony show which also comes with the stigma of an IA case following him around. Meanwhile the individual that made such claim will have no fear of facing disciplinary action simply because the police administration does not want to discourage other officers to come forward in the future that may have a legitimate complaint.

This brings me to here, the officer finally says “enough! you broke me, I will go else ware” and applies to, or tries to lateral transfer to a different department. I can guarantee you there will be somewhere on the prospective agency’s application form that has the question “Have you ever been subject to an internal investigation? If “yes” explain”. The well is now poisoned, and the officer is stuck. No agency will want another agency’s trash. His once proactive work stop’s he goes to midnights and counts down the days until he can retire.

Now if you think this is all bullshit, fanatical and could never happen sit down and talk with Troopers Ali Rei and Ryan Sceviour, and how they truly did the right thing and still got jammed up for it. They both have been since vindicated and rightly so, but it should have never got that far. I will bet however, if you talked with them today they are still feeling ostracized by some of their fellow troopers, and are now and always will be under the microscope of the MSP. …Repercussions of that traffic stop in 2017 where they did nothing wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I like body cameras I just want to see clear and concise policy written that applies to all and not just some. I don't want to see cherry picking an officers daily patrol practices with the sole intention of jamming him up or bullying him around. For example as the old theatrical adage goes "I'll have you busted down to patrolmen and walking the beat."
 

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One point about those who worry about video being reviewed just to try to find something wrong - I was in a mid-sized agency, 32 sworn officers. I'd GUESS on average there would be about 20 hours of video a week, sometimes a lot more. One good event could have 3 officers with an hour each, counting response, arrest, transport, booking, etc.

Anybody with that much free time needs to be given something else to do instead. I never had time to look at video unless I had a good reason. The person in charge of training would often review serious incidents and report on any training needs, but that's not what we're talking about here.

With audit trails and all, a supervisor who only reviewed a select group might have some selective discipline questions to answer.
 
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