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The City of Portland, Oregon

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PCCEP Feedback

Portland Police Bureau Body Worn Camera Project

Portland Committee on Community Engaged Policing feedback

Feb 26, 2019

This document summarizes member comments and feedback from the Body Worn Camera discussion at the PCCEP meeting held on Feb 26, 2019.  The introduction was given at the January meeting and PPB was asked back to the February meeting to answer some questions on the community engagement and policy discussions.  The feedback will be used in the policy decision meetings held later this year.

What involvement does the BWC program have with the EDO?  How is the EDO involved in the development/implementation of this program?  We have discussed the community engagement plan with the Equity office and discussed the presentation and feedback loop.

How do I get copies of the videos? 

The public release of videos will go through the same procedures as a request for a police report.

Is there any way to disable the ability to turn off the camera? 

I don’t know if you can disable the turn off, but for privacy reasons you can’t leave them running continuously because officers will need to use the restroom or have private conversations with an informant and other reasons it will need to be turned off.

But that also allows officers to turn them off when they are doing something they are not supposed to be doing. You can always edit out restroom breaks and talks with informants before you give out the video.

The only editing should be the blurring of faces for redaction.  The officers have privacy rights as well and have to weigh privacy rights of both the officer and the community member.

Once they put on the badge, they have no privacy rights. 

Officers have privacy rights just like anyone else and are allowed to take breaks during their shift.

They shut down radio traffic to priority calls only because they don’t have enough officers, so why can they make private calls?

Officers are allowed breaks just like anyone else.

Cameras shouldn’t go off for breaks.

Who owns the videos? 

The City and PPB owns them, not the vendor

What is the life of the video from when it is taken until used in prosecution?  From the capture to be presented as evidence? 

Camera is downloaded to server, either on premise or cloud, depending on the vendor and stored for the minimum 180 days. Officers will tags the videos with event details, case number, type of event, etc. which determines the retention.  The video sits until it is needed.  If not needed, it sits until it is deleted. 

Who deletes the videos when it is time? 

Someone on the BWC team.

What is the archive process?

Depending on the solution we purchase, the videos will stay on the server or the cloud until they are deleted.


What is the policy development status?

We are gathering the feedback on the policy piece now and the last community meeting is scheduled on March 13.   We will then form a policy group in PPB to go over the other agencies policies and the community feedback to determine what our policy should say.  The draft will then go to the stakeholders committee, followed by the union, before going out for public comment.  Finally it will go before city council.  All that has to be done before we start the pilot.

If violence breaks out during a protest or weapons are being used would the cameras be turn on? 

If the officers are just monitoring the demonstration, the cameras should not be on.  If they witness a crime or have reasonable suspicion, that is when they should turn them on.

What about if an officer is using flash bangs or other uses of force.

Good question, we need to add that to our notes to look at.

Is there any plan for feedback for officer improvement, performance plans, analysis, or other non-court reasons?

From discussions with other agencies, roughly 80% of these videos are never looked at because they are not used for a criminal case or a complaint.  It will depend on what the policy is on officer review if they can review the videos prior to writing the report.  The research idea came up in another community discussion and we will have discuss that separately as there are other legal requirements for viewing CJIS (Criminal Justice Information Systems) data similar to data collection out of a police report.  If we do end up with an agreement for research collection, it would be general data with the specifics of officer and community member identification removed.  It would be more collecting data on use of force, etc.  For the training piece, we are looking at that in the supervisor review portion so when they see something that would be helpful for training they can identify it.

There is an article from Memphis, TN where three officers turned off their cameras to hide things.  They talked on a radio channel that dispatch did not monitor and conspired to turn off their cameras before the shooting.  What are the policy violations to hold officers to? Are they just going to get administrative leave or a slap on the wrist?  Are there laws being created to stop this?

I can’t speak on creating laws, but as we develop the policy, we will look at the violation side as well.  Violations will be built in and those go through the Professional Standards Division of PPB and will be dealt with accordingly.


Why is this information not being treated as evidence? 

They are, if they are related to crimes and retained IAW the retention schedule.

What will be the cost of maintaining the library? 

The cost will depends on the vendor, where the videos are saved (on premise/cloud), how many videos we have.  We are hoping to learn about the costs of this program during the pilot.

Glad to hear you are considering the information gathered in the last round a few years ago.   At the town halls I was told you made everyone sit at different tables.  This open forum is better, we can all build off each other’s ideas.

I expected a larger crowd and we had planned on discussing the topics at different tables but ended up consolidating to three tables due to the smaller crowd.  I wanted small groups to promote discussion and give everyone a chance to have their voice heard so that one person did not monopolize the time.  We are taking notes at every table.

The texting information was released unredacted with people’s phone numbers and it is causing them problems. There could be things on video similar and the Bureau will need to think about how to handle that in the future.

The records division does the redaction piece and I cannot answer for the Bureau on that incident.

ORS 181A.250 does not just go to demonstrations, it could apply to other places/situations, such as mosques.  LE may call to exemptions prior to release.  We believe that the body worn cameras are in violation of this law because they are constantly collecting when there is no suspicion of criminal activity.

There are several laws the deal with body cameras, not just 181A.250, that one is specific to demonstrations.  Prohibited activation is 133.741 and it talks about exigent circumstances.  Mandatory activation is also covered under 133.741.  if there is a conflict, then that would need to be taken up by the Oregon legislature. 

What will be the oversight of the data?  There is a suspicion of how the data is kept.  Is there oversight outside the Bureau? 

The original video is not altered or edited.  The redaction is done to a copy.  Auditing piece, will take this idea to leadership and discuss this piece.

Important for trust and transparency – it would be great to have outside group look at it (the data).

It says in the law that footage will be released in the publics’ best interest – who defines this?

The law does not state, but in discussions with the PPB leadership and the District Attorney, the videos will go through the same process as the records goes through now. 

Is there any specific written reference that people can read that says what passes the qualification for public interest?

No, there is nothing specific.  The request decision will be a discussion between the Public records personnel, city attorney, DA.

What have we learned from past experience with the union when they rejected the policy?  What will make this time different?

We have the advantage of lesson learned from other agencies who have gone before us.  The PPA is aware we are looking at camera again and they have made some recommendations of policies they like aspects of.  Although, we have the policy previously created, we are scrapping that and starting fresh.  So we don’t have a policy written yet.  We are looking at the current technology and what is best for Portland.  Hopefully, they will look at the draft and understand that we are basing it off of tried and true methods from other agencies as well as the feedback from the community.

Question what is the Bureau looking for in the pilot?  What makes it a success?

In the pilot we are testing the differences in the technology.  We will also be testing out the policy, does it cover everything or did we miss something.  We are also looking at a research partner where we can gather data prior to the pilot and a few years after to see if the cameras make a difference.   I believe it will really take 2 to 3 years of gathering data before we get good performance measures.  The research partner will do a pre-survey, post-survey and 1 year after survey to collect data.  Research data gathering piece takes time.  We are planning for this.

You said that officers will be dealt with by Professional Standards and that 80% of the video will not be reviewed.  Will there be review of conduct even if nothing actually occurs?

That raises the question again of supervisor review, a question we are asking for the policy considerations.  Should supervisors only be required to review videos when there is a complaint?  Or should they do random reviews to check for compliance or to see if there are any training lessons that can be utilized.  The policies vary on how to handle this.  However, if we have them do mandatory reviews it will take a lot of time to review.

All Seattle officers wear body worn cameras.  I asked officer what happens if he turns off the camera.  Officer stated that they are terminated.



Will facial recognition software be used in any way?  What about symbolism recognition?  

No, the law states the cameras and videos will cannot be tied to facial recognition. I believe the law only addresses facial recognition cannot be used.

The police are already filming at protests, whether a crime is going on or not.  Why is that not implicated?  And the Bureau has a Nazi fascist Mark Kruger working in digital forensics?  Does that fall under Kruger?  Is it under Kruger now?

We are here to discuss the body worn cameras and policy for that program, not individuals of the Bureau.  Forensics is responsible for evidence capturing and is part of FED.  That program is different that the body worn camera unit under Tammy.  This will be in the BWC policy.   

Seems like a conflict between cameras always on versus privacy and recognition.  One solution to explore is to link autonomous automated engagement of the camera, like taking the gun out of holster? 

Yes, we are looking at what kind of events can trigger the camera.  The mayor asked us to see what vendor have a trigger for when a weapon is drawn.  In the RFP we asked about that and other triggers like when the lights or siren are turned on or when the vehicle door opens. 

What happens when a reviewer looks at the video and sees a red flag in the videos?  What do they do?  The review of videos will be done mostly by public records personnel and perhaps officer if allowed.  They will be responsible for reporting a red flag to the appropriate personnel.

The officer is going to have a camera and be allowed to film, what about citizens either involved or observing, do they have the right to film? 

As long as they do not interfere with officers and the event in which they are involved. 


It would be great to have a defined definition about how far you have to be away.  The officer wants you to back up out of audio range. 

You want people away for reaction time and your personal safety when dealing with an issue.  I don’t believe there is a actual defined distance.

We went to your police academy and were told 20 feet.  Recognizing the average person is not going to stab an officer with a camera, a written definition would be nice.


What does the pilot project look like?

We will conduct the pilot at Central Precinct and the Traffic Division.  Central, because we know the IT infrastructure is already in place and the video load is expect to be high.  Traffic so we can test the ruggedness and durability of the technology in all sorts of weather and exposed situations. 

Will it be certain officers? Certain shifts? 

All street officers.

The cameras on officers are facing out so you are not seeing what the officer is doing.  That will only be used to prosecute people.  Are they going to be left on during roll call so we know if the officer says “lets go out and shoot some black people”.

No, roll call discussions include intelligence.


I believe the Supreme Court ruled 10 ft.  I have been told to back up one or two blocks from a homicide scene there is no way to video tape from that distance.  I have been threatened with arrest if I did not back up.  People complain to me that officers have made threats like “I’ll shove that up your a.”  There are issues with the police being filmed by people in the public and I try to get information about what officer said what.

What the pilot you named Central and Traffic are most ready.  Why not work where there are the most stops, where stops are happening, north and northeast.  How soon will it be where community engagement with police is highest? 

Once a decision is made to fully implement, the timeline for implementation is March – Oct next year.  We will do one precinct at a time.   During the pilot we will be testing the IT connectivity at the other locations and getting it ready.  It will take 7 months to fully implement.

PCCEP would like to create a document of their position and recommendation on the cameras.