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The City of Portland, Oregon

Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

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

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SE Portland Citizen’s Advisory Council feedback

This document summarizes member comments and feedback from the Body Worn Camera presentation at the SE Portland Citizen’s Advisory Council meeting held on Mar 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. 

  • In cases of officer involved shooting and the person has mental illness, the recording would show what happened and it would protect both parties.
  • What are the automated triggers for the cameras?
  • The first few seconds of a situation are the most critical and most important to have.
  • What if the police bring a person to the ER and once there they begin to fight or go berserk, will the officer be recording?
  • Will the police record if they go into someone’s home just to talk?  What if they see other things in the house?


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. 

  • Turn off in a private residence.


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

  • What about interactions with the media, can you turn it on when talking to the media so they cannot misuse your words?


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

  • What happens if the officer is in a public meeting and tensions get high and someone starts to cause a problem, can they turn on the camera for that?


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)?

  • PPB is shorthanded and officers are running from call to call doing the reports much later in the day.  They are not going to remember everything and should be able to view the video for a refresher.
  • The middle ground is the most acceptable, write the report first, then watch the video and do a follow up report after if needed.


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?

  • They should review for complaints.
  • Is there a way to review for a good job or positive interactions?


General Feedback:

  • Are you bringing in the officers to look at the cameras?  Will there be the ability for the community to come in and see the cameras too?
  • What is the DOJs position on BWCs?  What is their recommendation?
  • Does this need to be negotiated with the union?
  • Will the videos be blurred when used for trial?
    • No, the blurring is required for public release, the unredacted version will be used at trial.
    • Are there going to be live feeds?
    • Does the person carrying the camera have the ability to view the recording?
    • The officers can do 99 things right and 1 wrong and it’s the one that is focused on.
    • Officers should be able to record if a person agrees to record the positive community engagement.
    • Will this be stored on the cloud?
    • Do you still have K9 cameras?  Are they still using them?
    • What is the recording time of the camera?
      • In the RFP we asked for a battery life of 12 hours and minimum record time of 8 hours.
      • Does this add work for the officers?
      • Is there an ability for officers to delete or modify?
        • No, the cameras do not allow any changes or deletions to be made to the videos.  That has to be done on the back end and only a select few will have those privileges and they will be audited.
        • Cameras are a great protection to officers and community members, this is protection for all.
        • People who complain about privacy done understand how many times they are in pictures or videos every day just walking down the street.  Everyone is recording everywhere.
        • Dash cameras are useful.
        • What if they forget to turn the cameras on?
        • If there are multiple officers on scene will all their cameras be on?
          • Yes.