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The City of Portland, Oregon

Police Bureau

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Phone: 503-823-0000

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1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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Slavic Advisory Council Feedback

Portland Police Bureau Body Worn Camera Project

Slavic Advisory Council feedback

Feb 14, 2019

This document summarizes member comments and feedback from the Body Worn Camera presentation at the Slavic Advisory Council meeting held on Feb 14, 2019.  After a brief introduction, the Bureau proposed key policy topics and emerging trends from other police agencies and asked for feedback on what Portland’s policy should reflect.  The feedback will be used in the policy decision meetings held later this year.

Mandatory Activation:  Oregon law states a camera worn upon an officer’s person will be set to record continuously, beginning when the officer develops reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that a crime or violation has occurred, is occurring or will occur and the law enforcement officer begins to make contact with the person suspected of committing the offense. 

      Major Theme Feedback

  • If a community member asks for the camera to be turned on they should have to turn it on.
  • If they are asked to turn it on, they should.  Bystanders are records, but the police are not right now.  This will support transparency.
  • This is supported.  Equal chance should be recording.

Additional Feedback:

  • What about people doing ride-alongs, is their conversation recorded?
    • The camera is on during the shift but only recording when the officer hits the record button.
    • When it is on but not recording, is it going somewhere?
      • It should not be since it is not recording, but we will check with the vendors.  Some cameras can go back 30 seconds before the record button is pushed and capture that data as well.
      • Such a low number of agencies have cameras, does this include the sheriff’s office?  Why is it not mandatory across the state?
        • The number is increasing every year.  Currently the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office does not have the cameras.  Clackamas County is currently testing a few and Washington County is in the process of implementing a system.  Each agency has the power to decide if they want to use the technology or not.
        • What is the benefits of the cameras?
          • Complaint resolution, critical information for cases, transparency and accountability.  Remember, cameras are not a silver bullet and will not capture everything.  They are an added tool.
          • If video are not release, people will think that something is being hidden. 
          • There are voyeurs who want to see the videos.
          • Where will the videos go from the camera? Can someone take the camera and run away?
            • Depending on the camera and vendor, the videos are uploaded either via Wi-Fi or when docked in the charging station.  Vendors also have differing levels of encryption.  That is something we will look at during the RFP.
            • In Moscow, everyone has an in-car camera and it is very helpful.
            • Are all faces blurred?
              • Yes, Oregon law requires it.
              • This is great, PPB should have cameras.


Prohibited Activation: Oregon law allows for exceptions to mandatory activation provided they are based on reasonable privacy concerns, exigent circumstances or the safety of officers and other persons. 

      Major Theme Feedback

  • What if they are asked to turn the camera off?
  • Why not record the whole time they are on-duty?
    • There are some situations where we should not record.  Additionally, the more videos and data, the increased cost to store it.
    • We ask many news reporters not to film in the churches.  Most churches broadcast a mass but there is no filming of a persecuted group.


Additional Feedback:

  • With the agencies that already started, how often do the officers forget to turn it on?
    • Like any new tool, there will be a learning period to build up the muscle memory for it to become habit for the officer.  Failure to follow the policy will be addressed.
    • How long can the camera record?
      • It varies but in the RFP was asked for a minimum of record time of 8 hours and a minimum battery life of 12 hours.
      • What if the officer is involved in a big case like a homicide and the camera runs out?
        • We will have spares in case of issues.
        • Will someone like dispatch be watching the camera live?
          • There are some camera that have a live video feed ability.
          • What do the officer feel about the cameras?  Will they be more protected?
            • We have not done a survey yet, but we believe the majority are looking forward to the cameras.  3 Officers present at the meeting agreed.
            • How does the public respond to being videoed?  Does it change behavior?
              • That is something a couple of agencies researched with varying results.
              • Consider finding a vendor with build in GPS for safety.
                • Many of the devices the officers use already have GPS as do many of the camera on the market.
                • Can the cameras be used to recognize people?
                  • No, Oregon law prohibits paring this technology with facial recognition.


Discretionary or Temporary Deactivation: When should the officer have discretion?

      Major Theme Feedback

  • This is going to be trial and error for a while.
  • What about recording a juvenile?


Deactivation: When is an officer allowed to turn off the camera?

      Major Theme Feedback

  • This makes sense.
  • If the event has been recorded, it is easier to hear the conversation especially if there are language issues.


Officer reviewing video: Should officers be allowed to review the video prior to writing a routine report?  What about reviewing the video after a critical incident (Officer Involved Shooting, Use of Force, and In-Custody Death)?

      Major Theme Feedback

  • Critical incidents are very trying and the officer is not going to remember everything.  The video helps.
  • They should be reviewing the video before writing the report, it helps memory.
  • Officers can review their notebooks, why is video any different?  It is a tool.

Additional Feedback

  • The suspect can always ask to see the video through their attorney.
  • In situations where there are mistakes and accidental recordings, can the officer remove them?
    • No, officers will not be able to edit or delete the recordings.


General Feedback:

  • Are you adding additional staff?
  • Why do we need to release videos to the public?
  • We would like a follow-up discussion after the pilot.
  • There may be a language barrier when the officer is informing the community member about the recording.
    • This was discussed during the Muslim Advisory Council.  We will look into a simple language card that explains the cameras in a variety of languages.  The Council will for a small workgroup to help with the language.
    • The Slavic community does not watch local American news or read the paper.  You should hang a flier in Russian language in the local Russian market where everyone will see it.
    • Publish pictures of the officer with the cameras and media to share this.
    • Announce in group this is coming with what it means.