At this point in our experience with body-worn camera (BWC) implementation, agencies are realizing the potential of utilizing BWC footage beyond evidentiary purposes.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) launched the Body-Worn Camera (BWC) Policy and Implementation Program (PIP) in FY 2015 to assist law enforcement agencies in enhancing or implementing BWC programs. PIP’s primary goals are to improve public safety, reduce crime, and improve trust between police and the citizens they serve.
On November 19th at 12:00 PM ET, the BWC TTA provider hosted a webinar on body-worn cameras (BWC) in the medical field and discussed how these programs can work within HIPAA. The webinar provided insights and experiences regarding how body-worn camera programs have or have not impacted police agencies as they relate to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Since the introduction of HIPAA, many police officers have not received training on the act or operate under misinformed assumptions on how HIPAA relates to obtaining information in a medical setting.
On August 28, 2019, the BWC TTA provider hosted a webinar on the evidentiary value of body-worn camera (BWC) footage. This webinar focused on the perspectives and experiences of Assistant District Attorneys (ADAs) and Public Defenders (PDs) about the role BWC video footage plays in their respective work streams. This webinar also described several benefits and disadvantages of the use of BWCs in a court of law, focusing on the context of time, expectations, and anticipated consequences.
This webinar focused on addressing the challenges that agencies and officers can experience when initially implementing a BWC program, especially regarding officer concerns, questions, and hesitations. Panelists highlighted the importance of having officers directly involved in the initial processes when an agency is considering implementing BWCs.
This webinar featured National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) Executive Director Nelson Bunn and San Diego Deputy District Attorney and subject expert Damon Mosler. They discussed topics that police departments and prosecutors’ offices should consider during BWC planning and implementation, as well as ways to keep prosecutors involved in the BWC discussion after implementation is complete.
We are learning that the implementation of body worn camera (BWC) technology involves more than just the introduction of new technology into law enforcement. The implementation of body-worn cameras is complex and should involve other justice stakeholders such as prosecutors and defense attorneys. Some of the more important issues for police agencies as the implement their BWC programs are the sharing and transferring of video footage while maintaining a chain of custody, accurate resource planning, and understanding how to best use BWC footage for screening cases and/or charges.
This webinar discusses how agencies can best manage and respond to the media and community after a crisis or high profile event that involves deliberate or inadvertent release of video footage. Without pre-thought and pre-planning regarding how to manage the release of video footage, a police agency can experience erosion of public community relations and perhaps violence.