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Pennsylvania State Police Motor Carrier Inspector Body-Worn Camera Project

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $52,050)

The Body Worn Camera Policy and Implementation program (BWC PIP) provides funding to limited public agencies (i.e., states, units of local government, (including tribal government, recognized by the Secretary of the Interior), combinations of such states or units, or any department, agency, or instrumentality of the foregoing), that perform criminal justice functions; and national and regional public and private entities, including for-profit (commercial) and nonprofit organizations (including tribal nonprofit or for-profit organizations), faith-based and community organizations, and institutions of higher education (including tribal institutions of higher education) that support initiatives to improve the functioning of the criminal justice system. For-profit organizations must agree to forgo any profit or management fee.

The BWC PIP, funded under the 2016 Department of Justice Appropriations Act (P.L. 114-113), will support the implementation of body-worn camera programs in law enforcement agencies across the country. The intent of the program is help agencies develop, implement, and evaluate a BWC program as one tool in a law enforcement agency’s comprehensive problem solving approach to enhance officer interactions with the public and build community trust. Elements of such an approach include; Implementation of a BWC program developed in a planned and phased approach; Collaboration that leverages partnerships with cross-agency criminal justice stakeholders including prosecutors and advocacy organizations; Implementation of appropriate privacy policies; Implementation of operational procedures and tracking mechanisms; Training of officers, administrators, and associated agencies requiring access to digital multimedia evidence (DME); Adoption of practices and deployment of BWC programs appropriately addressing operational requirements.

The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) will use this award to purchase Body-worn cameras (BWCs); which would be a valuable tool for the PSP to record and document traffic stops, arrests, suspect encounters, sobriety tests, crime scenes, interviews, and other interactions with the public. BWCs would be useful in the favorable resolution of both administrative and criminal complaints and as a defense resource in cases of civil liability. BWCs would also provide investigators, prosecutors, and juries with more detailed and compelling evidence of an incident. Pennsylvania’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act currently prohibits the use of BWC audio inside a residence; as a result, the PSP is unable to implement an agency-wide deployment of BWCs at this time. The PSP has instead elected to implement a targeted BWC program that would work within the limitations of current state law. The PSP is seeking BWCs for its allocation of 33 Motor Carrier Inspectors (MCIs). MCIs are sworn, enlisted members of the PSP who work alongside civilian Motor Carrier Enforcement Officers and Motor Carrier Enforcement Supervisors to inspect and weigh commercial vehicles in accordance with PSP regulations and the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code. Because MCIs do not enter residences as part of their routinely assigned duties, the use of BWCs by this relatively small and specialized group would not frequently come in conflict with current state law.
Within this targeted program, the PSP will develop written policies, procedures, and training standards for use of BWCs by MCIs that address the use, review, access, storage, retention, redaction, and expungement of digital voice and audio evidence. PSP will deploy BWCs to 33 MCIs for use during all encounters and activities related to the execution of their MCI duties. Once implemented and evaluated, this targeted program will allow the PSP to plan and prepare for BWC program implementation agency-wide, pending changes to Commonwealth laws that would allow the use of BWC audio inside a residence.


Date Created: September 25, 2016