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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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Town Hall #1 Feedback

Portland Police Bureau Body Worn Camera Project

Town Hall #1 feedback

East Portland Community Center, Feb 16, 2019

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. 

  • Really like having the Miranda Rights called out as mandatory.  Believe this to be a good policy for the community benefit and the officer benefit.
  • If there is not crime in progress or harm to self/others, then a person experiencing a mental health crisis should not be considered mandatory recording.  The criminal component/harm to self or others would trigger the mandatory recording.
  • Liked Albuquerque’s policy of mandatory recording when not complying with an officer’s commands or appearing to pose a threat to self or others.
  • Should be mandatory to record all persons in the back-seat during transport, even if all we can get is the sound.
  • Policy should set when the camera is on and off.
  • What if officers forget to turn the camera on until later in the incident?
    • Explained that many vendors have an option to capture 30 seconds prior to when the record button it activated.
    • Can you ask to have the camera turned on?  What if the officer does not want it on?
    • As far as camera on or off, no room for flexibility always on


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. 

  • In general, agreed with the provided statement for most agencies policies on prohibited recording.  Thinking of instances where young child or other members of the public not expecting to be recorded.
  • If there is suspected criminal behavior, then the prohibition is overruled.  For example in general, in a medical facility it should be prohibited unless the situation involved a criminal activity taking place.
  • PPB needs to be mindful of areas of worship as being prohibited or treated similar to the places identified in the typical policies reviewed.
  • Like Baltimore’s policy, especially recognizing the sensitive nature of the crimes when taking victim/survivor statements.
  • Really believe it comes down to the incidents and the criminal nature.  For example, if someone is in a mental health crisis and is not a danger to self or others, then there is no reason to record the interaction.  However, if there is a criminal component, or if the person is suicidal (standing on the bridge thinking about jumping) then there should be a mandatory recording.
  • Have concern with the messaging of what is released and how often we do not see the full picture of the incident.  Like the idea of having the pre-record option for some cameras to record for up to 30 seconds before the actual record button is activated. 


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

  • Other agencies policies make sense.
  • Keep recording while collecting physical evidence.
  • Like Oakland’s thoughts on turning it off when discussing administrative, tactical or Law Enforcement sensitive information away from the community member.
  • No need to record coaching.
  • Should record 24/7.  What if there is an ambush, or if the officer forgets to turn it on, or sees something like a car wreck before turning it on.
  • If recording constantly, then the officers are not free to talk everyday issues as a coping mechanism for what they deal with.
  • Are there any analytics or review of when officers are turning the cameras on and off?
  • Interviews with victims or witnesses when they request to not be recorded while giving a statement.
  • When it may escalate a situation but then if use of force, officer needs training on how to deescalate.
  • If you are not a suspect, you should have a choice if you want to be recorded, if you are a suspect then you do not get a choice.
  • Officer should state why they are stopping the recording.
  • Should be left to a supervisor on when to shut it off and the officer describes even over the radio.
  • Cannot turn off any time they want.
  • Supervisors should not leave access to activation or recordings unless there is cause.


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

  • When a victim or community member does not want to be recorded.
  • Must state why they are stopping the recording and have supervisor approval.
  • Supervisor to officers in tactical or coaching situations.


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)?

  • Things happen quickly, officers should be able to review to refresh their memory.
  • Officers should be able to review all videos.
  • Officers may see things on camera upon review that they did not see at the scene themselves.  Should they be able to use that later?  For example when review the video from a domestic, they see drugs on the video.
  • Officers should be able to review after critical incidents.
  • It is okay for the officers to review the video because it will not be deleted or edited.
  • For critical incidents, Officers should not review them alone but with a supervisor or community review.  There is concern for the officer’s mental health in revisiting those types of events.
  • Reviewing videos will increase the officer’s work load.
  • Police should not be able to view until they write a report, for transparency.
  • Avoid the temptation to adjust the report with the video.  If use of force video, they would adjust the information on the report to match.
  • Force events and critical events they should not be allowed to review.  What about for low level force?
  • What about events such as Tag Gruel case in St Johns?  What if the video does not match up with the report? 
  • Prefer officers not view videos.  Reports should be organic.
  • Routine or critical officer should not view video at all.
  • Can see where video would be helpful for writing reports but concerned on how the tool will be used.
  • Who else views the videos?
    • If criminal evidence, the DA and Defense will both view it.  If it is a use of force, then command, IPR, IAD, possibly the CRB and public records.
    • Will there be monitoring of the video?
      • An overwhelming majority of the video will never be viewed.  Only evidence and complaint videos will most likely been seen.
      • No review for officers.
      • Should only be reviewed after writing the report.


Supervisor reviewing video: When should supervisors be able to review the video?  Randomly to look for compliance with policy?  Only when there is a complaint?

  • Supervisors should have cause and not random review.  There should be a complaint or use of force.
  • Random leads to targeting of officers.
  • Use for training should be okay if approved by the city attorney, the officer in the video and any other members of the public in the video.
  • If a member of the public is in the video and it is to be used for training, their face should be blurred just like in a public release request.  If not, it may cause implicit bias if they see that person again.
  • Should review for serious events and complaints.


General Feedback:

  • Can dispatch turn on the cameras?
  • Concerned with the whole process.  Where is the stakeholders group City Council approved?  This is a disservice to the City Council.  Would like follow up on bargaining unit and stakeholder’s group.  Bureau is going about this the wrong way.
  • When will the DA review the video for officer involved shootings?  Will they have access from the very beginning?  When making decisions, the DA favors the officer.
  • Will the Bureau have some way to get feedback along the way?
  • The website has a feedback link.
  • Part of the process is working with a research partner to develop performance measures throughout the pilot and implementation.
  • That will be determined by the policy, however, there are additional concerns to the cameras on for the full 10 hour shift such as officer’s private conversations, restroom breaks, and the unmanageable amount of data that would create and the cost that goes with it.
  • The old policy was never formalized and we are starting from scratch.
  • This is the ORS that deals with camera use during public demonstrations.  We will follow the law and the cameras will only be turned on in the event a crime is being committed.
  • The camera is turned on at the beginning of the shift but only records when you hit the record button.
  • How effective are the camera?  Will we measure the value of the effect?
  • What about communications with a deaf person?  Do they have interpreters?
  • What about recording in front of a home and its identifiers such as address?  Or in a home there are documents, will these be redacted?
  • Will field interviews be recorded?
  • Will the camera be on all the time?
  • What about mere conversations?  If they are recorded then a complaint can be answered later.
  • When both sides are recording it may have an equalizing effect.
  • I publically film officers for protection and escalation.  And to show some officers in a good light.
  • Cameras should be on for the greater good.  Officers to feel nitpicked and I understand that.
  • How does the 180 day removal work?
  • Is the 48 hour rule still in effect?
  • Have you examined BWC from other jurisdictions?
  • Would like to see the old draft policy.  Recommend having that available for future community meetings.
  • What is the impact of cameras on 181A.250 ORS? 
  • The Lents Community would welcome BWCs.  They already self-monitor with door cameras etc. because there is so much crime.  Would like to see things that would support the officers in doing their jobs in the community.
  • What is the difference between activation and recording?
  • Need to ensure there is protections against intentional deletion.