One of the first steps for a law enforcement agency after receiving a grant through the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Pilot Implementation Program (PIP) is an administrative policy review. This review is a collaborative process with agencies to assess the comprehensiveness of their current body-worn camera (BWC) policy, to understand local issues that influence policy (e.g. specific state regulations), and to identify areas for continued technical assistance. An agency can access 10% of their PIP grant funds immediately after accepting the award. The agency cannot access the remaining 90% until after their policy has been approved by BJA.

To facilitate this review, the Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) Team has created a BWC Policy Review Scorecard. The Scorecard assesses policy comprehensiveness in the policy development process across 11 different areas including: policy development, general issues, activation, de-activation, data transfer/download, data storage, BWC video review, training, public release of video, policy and program evaluation, and use of force policy. The Scorecard includes 45 specific policy items across the 11 areas, 17 of which are mandatory (i.e., must be covered in order for the policy to be approved by BJA). The Scorecard also includes a written description of the specific policy review process, identification of potential problems areas or current TTA needs, and an overall recommendation for approval by the TTA team. The Scorecard is designed based on best practices found in the National Body-Worn Camera Toolkit, and the PERF/COPS document: Implementing a Body-Worn Camera Program: Recommendations and Lessons Learned.

The policy review is a collaborative process between the law enforcement agency, the TTA team, and BJA. The process typically begins with an initial call between law enforcement agency personnel and a member of the TTA team to discuss the policy review process. A blank copy of the Scorecard is provided to the law enforcement agency at the start of the policy review process. The TTA team member will then receive the current policy, and begin the scoring processing. The TTA team member will consult with law enforcement agency personnel as needed to answer questions and complete the Scorecard.

The Scorecard is designed to rate the comprehensiveness of the policy and does not dictate directionality on issues. For example, the Scorecard requires that the policy provide officers guidance on when they are to activate the BWC, but the Scorecard does not proscribe the circumstances for activation –the specifics of an issue are left to the discretion of the local agency. Similarly, the Scorecard requires that a policy provide guidance to officers on citizen advisement of the BWC, but the local agency determines the specific guidance that is provided in the policy.

A policy must receive a passing grade of 80% (36/45), with 100% on the mandatory items (17/17), to be recommended for approval. BJA makes decisions to accept or not accept a policy based on the TTA review and recommendation in the BWC Policy Review Scorecard. 

To access a copy of the Body-Worn Camera Policy Review Scorecard to score your own policy, please click here.