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The City of Portland, Oregon

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Town Hall #2 Feedback

Town Hall #2 feedback

Matt Dishman Community Center, Feb 22, 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. 

  • Should be started at the beginning of the call (radio dispatch).
  • Any time weapons are drawn (e.g. gun or Taser).
  • It should capture the conversation enroute to a call.
  • Need footage that provides a fair account of events but don’t want police to be able to manipulate the context for protest videos.
  • As soon as an officer leaves their vehicle.
  • Liked the examples from other agencies and believes they should be included in our policy if not expanded upon.
  • Confrontational needs to be clarified as it seem ambiguous.
  • Psychiatric assessments would need clarification given HIPAA laws and patient privacy concerns.
  • Once disorder or a disturbance is declared at a protest.
  • Should be automatically turned on when the officer gets out of the car by RFID tag (concerned about officers forgetting to turn the camera on).
  • When seizing evidence.
  • During searches.
  • Should be required during evidence collection, searches, etc.  Even if just searching for bullet casing.
  • Should be on when collecting evidence.
  • Searches, arrest, transport, evidence collection.
  • Concerns about during a hot incident that a manual activation may not occur.
  • What if the button is not pressed?
  • Someone may feel there is unconscious bias when the police say you are on camera. People may feel it is activated because the officer has a bias against them. Recommendation: policy that specifically delineates what will be said “I am recording because all stops are recorded”.
  • If turned on midway through an interaction, there may be concern that the situation is elevating.  If citizen sees officer reach up and press button they may think, uh oh things are about to go wrong, could increase anxiety. Subj may see that as a threat
  • What is the protocol for activating camera? 

 

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. 

  • Personal breaks (lunch, bathroom, etc.)
  • Social interaction.
  • Death notification (some yes, some no).
  • Strip searches.
  • Evidence collected inside a protected space that is evidence of a new crime that is not perceived by the officer at the time they are present.  That should not be used to charge a crime later on.
  • At schools unless a crime in is progress, due to the presence of minors.
  • The Cleveland example is not workable if it conflicts with a mandatory activation. (Cleveland prohibits activation at entertainment venues that may have prohibitions against recording the event or facility; like a sports game or concert).
  • There should be an ability to record even it private.

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

  • “At full conclusion” – who decides when the incident is concluded?
  • Officers should inform the community member when the camera is turned off, and there should be a visual indicator like the light goes off.
  • What happens if the equipment fails to turn off when an officer means to?  How do we make sure sensitive info is not released or used).
  • What happens if the community member no longer wants the officer to record during the interaction?
  • Should have GPS to document the crime, evidence location, officer on location, etc.
  • On during public areas, not during constitutionally protected areas.
  • Officer should have to explain why they are turning off the camera.
  • Sexual assault victims, bias crime victims as to not cause more trauma.  Other victims should be discretionary.
  • Videos should be time stamped especially if turning on/off between interviews.
  • There is a gray area around social services areas (detox or shelter), should not record during those times but may need for officer protection.
  • Medical calls should not be recorded unless there is suspicion of a crime.
  • Getting permission from a higher authority could cause issues that officers are not trusted.
  • Supervisor needs to note the reason for deactivation, but this may be discounted by the public.
  • A citizen can suggest deactivation but the officer should decide, officer protection is more important.
  • How is deactivation done?  Is there a visual cue?  Recommend officer tell people they are deactivating.
  • What about when someone consents to recording then changes their mind?  Must balance evidence vs request.
  • Do suspects have the right to not be recorded?
  • Does it have a GPS associated so it documents the location when collecting evidence?
  • Public vs. private, some difference in whether video should be on during a search (constitutionally protected area vs public search). Where there is no privacy interest, less need for recording.
  • Officers may need to do a commentary to say why they are recording or not recording.
  • Recommend deactivated for sex assault and bias crimes interviews?
  • Any victim should have the discretion for recording, not officers.
  • Perhaps on civil issue like barking dogs.
  • Should be restrictions on when a supervisor can authorized deactivation.
  • Recommend keeping camera on when collecting evidence even when no suspect. Camera on the entire time beginning to end.
  • Is there ability to mute audio but continue to record? Capture someone in crisis but don’t need audio.   Ability to filter out HIPAA discussions?
  • Deactivated in a medical facility.  The camera sees everything, where is the line?
  • Should be deactivated when collecting evidence, unless a homicide scene.
  • Should be left on for evidence, even when no suspect.  Will help show where the evidence is.
  • The public deserves to know that these deactivations and reports are the exception, and are not being abused. 
  • For “at the full conclusion of the event or encounter or incident” and “member has left the scene and anticipates no further involvement”, these should be fleshed out as definitions – Perhaps using examples where police/public trust has eroded.

 

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

  • Can the camera stay on but just turn the audio off so you cannot hear the sensitive conversations?
  • Documents, computer screens with HIPAA should be blurred for public release requests.
  • Should be supervisor discretion as opposed to exhaustive list of reasons.
  • The conditions on the example are good: cultural/religious objections, death scene notification.
  • Bad idea to turn off the camera when searching for or collecting evidence.  Needs to be on.  Car search, need to have the video evidence. Can help protect the officer.
  • Police should have no discretions for criminal contacts, but any non-criminal are discretionary.
  • Between interviews similar to other agencies.
  • Recommend time stamps for on-off in temporary deactivations
  • During booking, this should be officer discretion.
  • Should be on through the end of the contact, including booking as it is part of the event.
  • Community members should not be able to say when the officer turns it off.
  • Supervisor must be notified if turned off in a discretionary situation and must be documented in the report.
  • Recording during a death notification could later be used as training aid to review how officers treat someone with empathy.
  • When someone is naked and answers the door.

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)?

  • The Ferguson example doesn’t make sense (officers allowed to review recordings prior to being questioned about an event).  Seems like it would give officers the opportunity to create a story or excuse for unethical behavior.
  • Officers should not be allowed to view and write their own encounter.
  • 3rd party should be allowed to view videos and get both officer and community perspective.
  • 3rd party should be allowed to watch the video before the officers.
  • This can be a training aid.  The video can be used to make sure the report and video are the same.
  • Is there a live stream capability?
  • Should be able to be reviewed prior to writing reports, just like reviewing the notebook entry.
  • Officers should be able to view their own but not other officer’s videos who were on scene.
  • If an officer’s report differs from the video, people may think they are lying.
  • Can there be a 3rd party review? Like IPR?
  • Disagree with the policies listed allowing access prior to writing the reports.  The video can change the officer’s perception of what happened.
  • The public is at a disadvantage if the officer can see it but not them.
  • What is the point of an officer wearing a camera if they can review it first?
  • The intent of the camera should be invisible.  It should be used to validate the behavior of the officer.  There should be no difference between normal review and critical events.
  • There should be criteria, and express purpose to reviewing the video.
  • Emergent situations, could be viewed like other video (surveillance, etc.)
  • Video is dehumanizing / depersonalizing – best advantage is to make human advantage
  • Video is an extension of using notes, should be able to review.
  • This must be clearly stated, it is a bargainable issue and may cause conflict if officers and review but not full reports.
  • They should only be able to review their own videos, not others.
  • An assigned investigator should be able to review all videos.
  • The video can be used to explain the gaps in the report.
  • Shouldn’t write a report based on what is in the video.
  • A routine incident can become critical later on.
  • An officer’s culpability is determined by their state of mind, the video doesn’t express the state of mind.
  • Should be able to view after report writing.
  • Officers may not be 100% sure of memory.  Are there be negative consequences if officers reviews – benefits to victims / public?
  • Law enforcement is a response to, not a prevention of crime.  It does catching officers lying for cultural problems.
  • Officer review may cause issues of trust between public and police.
  • Video should be treated the same regardless if it is an everyday issue or something that can lead to discipline like a use of force.
  • Officers should not be able to use videos (camera body worn) to aid their reports.  Their reports come first, then that needs to be contrasted by independent review of video and other evidence.

 

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?

  • Supervisor should be used for training and review
  • Supervisors should be able to randomly review and screen calls as training reviews.
  • It should be reviewed as a training aid.  Shows how the officer interacts with the public, if they are objective, if supervisor needs to give them feedback.
  • Is there any case law around using videos for discipline?
  • Is live-streaming possible, where a supervisor can watch if they are not on scene?
  • Supervisors should be able to review in special circumstances like use of force, misconduct, feeling that the officer is not doing their job.
  • They shouldn’t spend 8 hours just watching videos.
  • Review for performance, not only negative circumstances.  Random reviews, not just annually for performance report.
  • Boo.  (Individual literally booed supervisor review).
  • Should review use of force.
  • Keep in line with existing use of force policy regarding use of videos.
  • Should be reviewed for complaints and used as a tool to prove or disprove.
  • Videos could address targeting.
  • Random sampling.
  • Cause could be a purpose for more training, like a random urinalysis.
  • Supervisors shouldn’t review because they will not look at the entirety of the video.
  • Absolutely.
  • Shouldn’t be used to make an example of the officer, embarrass the officer or misinterpret their work.
  • Should be shared for training.

 

General Feedback and feedback received by comment card:

  • 85% of the officer’s day is boring and the camera should be for the critical events.
  • Need to dispel the assumptions about the cameras with correct information.
  • There is perception vs reality in how cameras will be used and how they work.
  • Trust has to be part of the policy end game.
  • I feel strongly about footage being on from first knowledge that officer is responding to the very end.  How can we make that happen?  Change policy on length stored.
  • Will there be new positions to process audio/video? 
  • How will video/audio data be logged and organized?
  • No body cameras.  Use the money to have more cops.  If you are dead set on going through with this anyway.  The premise is wrong.  First of all:  how the heck did cops do their job before?  If technology is so uncertain, how does this help? (if not hinder).  If cops (as has been proven in these other cities) use the footage or lack there of to their own advantage / bias.  How does this make a difference?  Push the button when you get out of the car.  Take recordings, tag where you might need a review later (to supplement your incident report after you submitted it) and use discretionary deactivation as necessary.  I thought I was coming here to be convinced that the body cams were helpful.  Nothing anybody said today convinced me that cameras help (e.g. if for example you need footage to supplement or prove your description of your incident “help me to document” is disconcerting, sad.  
  • There should be a light to notify the public that the camera has been activated.
  • Officer should explain why the camera is turned on, e.g. “we record all traffic stops” or “I see a joint”.
  • Video should not be used for other crimes outside of why officer is originally there or suspect is charged with.
  • Publish video of rolls calls, provide more information of what goes on in police.
  • Pending legislation that suggest drivers getting citation would have right to refuse search, BWC may impact policy.  Is BWC considered a search? Could pending legislation change this? Some policy cover this specifically.
  • Good idea to publically post policies, use media outlet to roll out.
  • Make sure policy covers every aspect, and ensure policy covers not recording.
  • Is there technology to do remote activation? Can supervisor do that?
  • What can officers do with the video they have and where are the lines with privacy? DV where you are there for something else and later in reviewing for legitimate reason, you see something in the video, what can the video be used for? What are the privacy interests for those being recorded outside the scope of the officers’ reason for being there?
  • Would value the ACLU’s input on body cameras.
  • PPB should work with the ACLU’s recommendation to develop their policy.
  • I don’t see why camera