This procedure is intended to provide officers with instructions on when and how to use Body-Worn Cameras (BWCs) so that officers may reliably record their contacts with the campus community while also protecting the privacy rights of all parties being recorded in accordance with Pennsylvania state law.
Cedar Crest College Campus Police has adopted the use of the BWC to accomplish several objectives. The Primary objectives are as follows:
1. All personnel who may use or otherwise be involved with BWCs will receive initial training on BWC usage and protocols and prior to use, with annual refresher training thereafter. Such training will include the following:
A. All practices and protocols covered by this BWC policy.
B. An overview of relevant state laws governing consent, evidence, victim and witness privacy, and public disclosure.
C. Best practices in responding to crime victims, including the privacy considerations included under 42 Pa. C.S. § 67A07(a)(2), obtaining informed consent to record, and a trauma informed response.
D. Additional training may be required at periodic intervals to ensure the continued effective use and operation of the equipment, proper calibration and performance and to incorporate changes, updates or other revisions in the procedure and equipment.
POLICY AND PROCEDURE
A. Operating and Utilizing BWC systems
1. BWCs will be managed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and trainings.
2. BWC equipment is issued primarily to uniformed personnel as authorized by the Chief of Campus Police. Officers who are assigned BWC equipment must use the equipment unless otherwise authorized by the Chief of Campus Police.
3. Uniformed officers will wear all supplied components of the BWC system and verify the BWC is properly positioned to clearly record police activities and incidents.
4. Officers will inspect and conduct a field test of the BWC before each shift or special event assignment to verify the device is functioning properly.
5. Officers will not use a BWC assigned to another officer.
6. BWC equipment is the responsibility of individual officers and will be used with reasonable care to ensure proper functioning. Officers will immediately report a malfunctioning BWC to a supervisor so that a replacement unit may be procured.
a. The agency will be issued additional BWC devises designated to be temporarily assigned to an officer if an officer’s assigned device is inoperable.
b. In the event a BWC is temporarily assigned to an officer, the supervisor will notify the Chief of Campus Police by the next business day with the pertinent information to allow for proper video and audio tracking in the records management system.
7. At the end of every shift or event assignment, devises will be placed into an appropriate docking station for the transfer of video footage to the college’s storage system.
8. Officer will keep their BWC powered on during their assigned shifts and will intermittently inspect their BWC for proper functioning.
9. Officers will activate the BWC during all dispatched incidents, as well as to record campus community contacts within the performance of official duties.
10. If an officer fails to activate or deactivate their BWC according to policy, fails to record the entire contact, interrupts the recording, or fails to upload their BWC promptly, whether intentionally or accidentally, the officer shall report the incident to their supervisor and document why a recording was not made, was interrupted, was terminated or not uploaded.
11. Campus Police Officers shall use only BWC’s issued by this department that has been approved for use in accordance with equipment standards published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The use of personally – or privately – owned recording equipment for documentation purposes is prohibited. The BWC equipment and all data, images, video and metadata captured, recorded or otherwise produced by the equipment is the sole property of Cedar Crest College.
12. No public individuals shall be allowed to review recordings without permission from the Chief of Campus Police. Exceptions can be made for law enforcement officers conducting a criminal investigation.
13. Officers will conduct proper identification as a law enforcement officer when utilizing BWC equipment and must inform all individuals identifiably present, as soon as reasonably practicable, that the BWC is being utilized to record the encounter/incident. Officers will not lead a person to believe the BWC has been deactivated when in fact, the BWC is left active.
14. In locations where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as a residence hall dorm rooms and apartments, they may decline to be recorded. If the recording is being made in pursuant to a policy violation or search of the room, apartment or individuals officers may continue recording. The BWC shall remain activated until the event is completed in order to ensure the integrity of the recording, unless the contact moves into an area restricted by these instructions.
15. Subject to paragraphs 16, 17, or 18 below, officers should begin BWC recordings in the following circumstances unless doing so would be unsafe, impossible, or impractical.
a. at the initiation of a call for service or other activity that is investigative or enforcement in nature, or an encounter between the officer and a member of the public that is investigative or enforcement in nature. Examples of these types of encounters may include, but are not limited to:
1. When the officer initiates response to an incident or emergency;
2. When performing police emergency response driving;
3. During traffic or pedestrian stops, including the investigation of a vehicle and occupants already stopped or parked. Officers equipped with the BWC will continue to record until the stopped vehicle departs or officers leave the scene;
4. During the entirety of vehicle or foot pursuits;
A. Activate the BWC before initiating a vehicle or foot pursuit.
B. Deactivate the BWC when there is a failure to apprehend the vehicle or subject, with permission from a supervisor.
5. While conducting field interviews, interrogations and intoxication testing;
6. When seeking consent to search without a warrant, including searches of persons, buildings, or vehicles, including the request and consent when practical;
7. When transporting individuals in any Department vehicle to any location;
8. When taking a statement or information from a victim or witness;
9. When assigned to monitor or provide crowd control at a protest or demonstration; or
10. Any encounter that becomes confrontational after the initial contact.
16. If officers are unable to begin recording with the BWC due to circumstances making it unsafe, impossible, or impractical to do so, officers should begin recording with the BWC at the first reasonable opportunity to do so. Officers should document, in writing, the circumstances preventing them from activating the BWC and provide that documentation to their supervisor.
17. Upon conclusion of the incident involving circumstances giving rise to the recording in paragraphs 9 and 15 above, the officer will record a short statement that the incident has concluded, and then deactivate the recording. If, after deactivation that is authorized or required under this policy, the BWC is reactivated, upon reactivation of the BWC, the officer will state that the recording will resume.
18. Notwithstanding the activation requirements in paragraphs 9 and 15 above, the following are circumstances wherein BWCs should be deactivated:
a. When victims, witnesses or other individuals wish to make a statement or share information, but refuse to do so while being recorded, or request that the camera be turned off, officers should turn off the BWC in order to obtain the statement or information. If the encounter begins when the BWC is not actively recording, the law enforcement officer should, but is not required to, temporarily activate the BWC for the sole purpose of documenting person’s refusal to be recorded.
b. Prior to recording an interview of a sexual assault or trauma victims, officers must request and obtain consent before recording and document the consent on the recording. If the encounter begins when the BWC is not actively recording and consent is requested but not obtained, the officer should, but is not required, to temporarily activate the BWC for the sole purpose of documenting that the victim declined consent to be recorded.
c. If directed to deactivate or not to record by a supervisor, unless the officer believes the order to be illegal, unethical, or in conflict with department policy. Officers should seek clarification from the supervisor as to the reason for deactivation. Officers will record the name and position of the supervisor in their statement before deactivation.
19. Officers shall not edit, alter, erase, duplicate, copy, share or otherwise distribute in any manner BWC recordings without prior written authorization and approval of the Chief of Campus Police. This does not include the regular transferring of files from the BWC to permanent storage.
20. Officers are encouraged to inform their supervisor of any recordings that may be of value for training purposes.
21. If an officer is suspected of wrongdoing or involved in any use of force incident the college administration reserves the right to limit or restrict an officer from viewing the video file.
22. Requests for deletion of portions of the recordings (e.g., in the event of a personal recording) must be submitted in writing and approved by the Chief of Public Safety or his designee. All requests and final decisions shall be kept on file.
23. Officers shall note in incident reports when recordings were made during the incident in questions, However, BWC recordings are not a replacement for written reports.
Restrictions on Using the BWC
BWC’s shall be used only in conjunction with official Police duties.
The BWC will not be used to record:
1.Communications with other Campus Police personnel and/or college Faculty/staff performing normal duties without the permission of the Chief.
2. When on break or otherwise engaged in personal activities.
3.In any location where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as a restroom or locker room, except during an active incident (e.g. foot pursuit that leads into a locker room).
4. In any detention facility or hospital facility (when confidential patient information may be recorded) except during an active incident (e.g., disorderly person).
5. While conducting body cavity or strip searches.
1. All files shall be securely downloaded by the Chief of Campus Police or his designee periodically and no later than the end of each week. Each file shall contain information related to the date, BWC identifier and assigned officer. (ex: 101822.1 )
2. All images and sounds recorded by the BWC are the exclusive property of Cedar Crest College. Accessing, copying or releasing files for non-law enforcement purposes is strictly prohibited.
3. All access to BWC data (images, sounds and metadata) must be specifically authorized by the Chief of Campus Police or his designee and all access is to be audited to ensure that only authorized users are accessing the data for legitimate and authorized purposes.
4.Files should be securely stored in accordance with state records retention laws and no longer than useful for purposes of training or for use in an investigation or prosecution, in capital punishment prosecution, recordings shall be kept until the offender is no longer under control of a criminal justice agency.
5. Retention Periods:
a.Body camera footage saved as part of a specific incident will be placed with the L drive and retained for 7 years per Clery requirements.
b. All other camera footage can be deleted after 300-days.
1.Supervisory personnel shall ensure that officers equipped with BWC devices utilize them in accordance with these procedures defined herein.
2. Supervisors will be responsible for the secure transfer of video files from an officer’s BWC to permanent storage after their shift.
3. At least on a monthly basis, supervisors will randomly review BWC recordings to ensure that the equipment is operating properly and that officers are using the devices in accordance with this policy.
4. Investigate and document all incidents involving an officer who fails to activate or deactivate the BWC per procedure, including any recommendations for a professional standards investigation to be initiated.
1. Violations of this policy are subject to corrective measures set forth in The Cedar Crest College Discipline Policy located in the Staff Handbook.
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