Interactions between law enforcement and the public-whether for community engagement, crime prevention, law enforcement, or investigation-are necessary to support the public safety mission. These official duty interactions produce information, intelligence, and evidence that also support the public safety mission. While body-worn cameras (BWC) provide an opportunity to preserve these interactions with greater detail and accuracy than previous technology, such preservation raises new privacy questions and concerns. In addition, police use of force, which is sometimes necessary in order to maintain peace and prevent disorder, strains police-community member relations. The promise that BWC video will provide a recorded accounting of events is appealing to the criminal justice system as well as privacy advocates. However, it is important to understand all of the privacy and liability considerations involved (e.g., when and how to record, view, discard, redact, and share video). The considerations are complex and broad, so jurisdictions should conduct research, talk with those who have implemented programs under similar legal environments, and collaboratively problem solve these difficult issues with community members and advocacy groups.
CDT's 5 Suggestions
Center for Democracy & Technology letter of recommendation to the 21st Century Policing Task Force with recommendations about capture, retention, sharing, and use of BWC