U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Optimizing the county of Westchester's current BWC program

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $995,935)

The WCDAO is seeking funding from BJA under Category 4: Optimizing BWC footage in
Prosecutors’ Offices Demonstration Projects, to assist the WCDAO in optimizing its current BWC Program to improve existing policies and procedures, and to establish and share best practices with respect to the use of BWC video footage in prosecutorial decision making. The WCDAO created its current program for reviewing video footage obtained from BWCs in response to the revised discovery legislation passed by New York State in 2020. This legislation, along with increased use of BWCs, has created an immense burden for prosecutors. By establishing its
Discovery Bureau, the WCDAO has been successful at meeting its statutory obligations and in
streamlining the process for reviewing BWC video footage. However, to date, the Bureau has been mostly reactive, relying on prosecuting ADAs to request assistance with their review.
With the funding provided through this grant, the WCDAO intends to optimize its program by hiring
one new ADA and one new paralegal to add to the Bureau’s existing staff, which will allow us to
review and redact videos more proactively. To that end, rather than waiting for the prosecuting ADA to request a review of BWC evidence, the Bureau will automatically review BWC footage for all cases of alleged police misconduct, with particular emphasis on use of force and injury while in custody, cases involving felony sex offenses, and Class A and B violent felonies. The addition of an additional ADA is crucial to the effective supervision of the paralegals reviewing the video footage, enabling questions concerning legal issues to be answered immediately. In addition, if awarded this funding, the Bureau intends to create a new system for tracking performance that can be easily shared with other prosecutors’ offices. In this regard, when a relevant incident is discovered in the video footage, the paralegal would complete an Event Sheet describing
the noted conduct and indicating the hour, minute, and second where the event(s) could be located in the video file. The Event Sheets will allow the office to track program performance as they will be used to gather statistics on the number of videos reviewed, hours of video reviewed, number of events that necessitated redaction, number of instances of police conduct that were referred for further investigation, and number of instances of police conduct that was referred to law enforcement agencies for corrective actions.

Date Created: September 25, 2023