Body Worn Cameras

Pendleton Police Department

Body-Worn Camera Program

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

INTRODUCTION

In 2019, the Pendleton Police Department was awarded a United States Department of Justice Body Worn Camera Program Grant to purchase and implement body worn cameras into the daily operations of the police department. The award was for $31,000.00, which requires the City of Pendleton to match. The total cost of the grant is $62,000.00. As part of the grant process, the Pendleton Police Department was required to develop policies and procedures, solicit and evaluate proposals from body worn camera vendors, conduct community informational sessions, develop a training and implementation schedule, and evaluate the program through the life of the grant. 

Below are answers to some common questions members of the public have about body worn cameras. As the program develops and laws evolve some of the answers may be subject to change.

 

EQUIPMENT SELECTION PROCESS

  • What body worn camera will Pendleton Police Department Officers be using?

After careful consideration and evaluation, Axon, Inc. was chosen as the vendor that best suited the needs of the Pendleton Police Department.  

  • How/why was that camera system chosen?

Five vendors submitted proposals that were independently reviewed by the police department’s administration. Each vendor was rated on 72 answers they submitted as part of the proposal process. In the end, Axon, Inc. was the clear choice based on product performance, storage and data management, and cost.

  • What are the limitations of body worn cameras?

Body worn cameras are just one of the many tools that Officers use to enhance the safety of the public and the Officers, but they do come with limitations. A body worn camera provides a two dimensional rendering of a three dimensional event. The field of view of a body camera is less than that of the human eye. The camera can become obstructed depending on the situation. Lighting conditions significantly impact what is able to be observed on video. These are just some of the limitations that have been encountered with body worn cameras.

 

COST

  • How much do the body worn cameras cost?

The U.S. Department of Justice awarded the Pendleton Police Department a matching grant of $31,000.00. The cost of the three year contract with Axon, Inc. is approximately $41,000.00. There are additional costs associated with training, grant preparation, and personnel costs associated with implementation.

  • How much will this cost Pendleton residents?

This is a matching grant so the City of Pendleton will be responsible for paying $31,000.00 to match what we are receiving from the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • Are there long term costs associated with the body worn camera program?

After the term of the contract expires, the City of Pendleton will be responsible for the costs to maintain the body worn camera program.     

 

POLICY AND PROCEDURE DEVELOPMENT

  • Does the Pendleton Police Department have written policies and procedures on the use of body worn cameras?

Yes, the Pendleton Police Department has written policies in place that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Justice and comply with Oregon Revised Statute. 

  • Will all personnel be required to wear cameras?

All sworn personnel will be assigned body worn cameras and will use them in accordance with established policies and procedures.

 

PUBLIC INPUT AND INFORMATION

  • Will the Pendleton Police Department be seeking community input?

Yes, as part of the grant process, two community meetings will be scheduled. These meetings are intended to provide information to the public about the body camera program and to gather feedback from community members to assist in implementing a successful program.

Additionally, police department personnel will make presentations to various community groups.

  • Who do I contact if I have questions about the body worn camera program?

If anyone has questions about the Pendleton Police Department body worn camera program they can call us at 541-276-4411 and ask to speak to the on duty Lieutenant or Chief of Police. We can also be reached by email at:

                   Chief Stuart Roberts: stuart.robertsatci.pendleton.or.us

                   Lt. Tony Nelson: tony.nelsonatci.pendleton.or.us

                   Lt. Chuck Byram: chuck.byramatci.pendleton.or.us

 

  • Where can I find more information about body worn cameras?

Additional information about body worn camera programs can be found at the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance web site at:

          https://www.bja.gov/ProgramDetails.aspx?Program_ID=115

 

IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS AND OFFICER TRAINING

  • When will the body worn cameras be placed into service?

Body worn cameras will be implemented into the daily operations of the Pendleton Police Department after all personnel have been trained. It is anticipated that our Officers will be using the cameras by January 2020.  

  • What kind of training will the Officers receive?

All sworn personnel will be trained by Axon, Inc. representatives in the operation of the body worn cameras and the associated data management system.

Personnel will receive additional training to ensure they understand the body worn camera policies and procedures, specifically gaining understanding about when and when not to activate the camera.  

 

STORAGE AND RECORDS RETENTION

  • How is the body worn camera recordings stored?

The Axon, Inc. data management platform (Axon Evidence) is a cloud based solution that is accessed through a web based portal. All recordings are downloaded to the cloud based system where they are securely stored.

  • How does the video download?

At the end of a shift, Officers will place their cameras into a docking station where the video will be downloaded to the cloud based system and stored.

  • How long is the video kept?

Videos are kept based on our set retention schedule that complies with state and federal laws. All video will be kept for a minimum of 180 days.

  • Is the video storage secure?

Yes, only authorized users can gain access to Axon Evidence through the web portal. Axon Evidence is CJIS compliant. 

 

PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS

  • Is the video captured on body worn cameras considered a “public record”?

Body camera video is considered a public record, but may be exempt from release based on the nature of the content. All public records requests will be evaluated based on applicable law regarding public records release. Any video released per a public records request will have the faces rendered unidentifiable, per ORS 192.345.

  • Will facial recognition technology be used to identify subjects in the videos?

No, Oregon Revised Statute 133.741 prohibits the use of facial recognition software to examine body camera videos.

  • Will the police department post videos online?

Under certain rare circumstances the Pendleton Police Department may post a video on their web site to solicit the public’s assistance with a criminal investigation.

 

RECORDING OF JUVENILES

  • Can juveniles be recorded?

Yes, juveniles can be recorded. Any videos involving juveniles will be handled in accordance with applicable laws regarding juvenile records.

 

USE IN COURT

  • Will body worn camera video be used as evidence in court?

Yes, video from a body worn camera will be submitted and used just like any other piece of evidence used in court.

  • Can the video recording be altered or edited?

No, the original video is downloaded into the cloud based system and cannot be altered or edited. If a copy of the video is made for public release, then the faces can be redacted (blurred) before release. An audit trail is kept of any access/changes to a video within the system. 

 

PRIVACY CONCERNS

  • What does the law say about law enforcement recording?

Law enforcement officers are allowed by law to record their interactions with the public, per ORS 165.345. Pendleton Police Department policy outlines when an Officer should record their activities; however not all circumstances can be anticipated.

  • Does the Officer have to give notification that they are recording?

Per ORS 165.345, law enforcement officers have to advise they are recording as long as they can do so without jeopardizing their safety. 

  • Can the cameras be turned off under certain circumstances?

Pendleton Police Department policy allows the Officer discretion to stop recording when he/she reasonably believes that privacy concerns outweigh the need to continue recording the interaction. If those concerns are not present then the Officer is required to continue recording until the interaction is completed.

  • Can an Officer record inside private residences?

Yes, however the Officer can cease recording if a privacy issue exists or if requested by a member of the public because of a perceived privacy issue that outweighs the legitimate law enforcement purpose. 

  • Will casual conversations be recorded?

Generally, casual conversations with members of the public will not be recorded unless that conversation becomes adversarial or the Officer develops indicia of activity that would require the Officer to record the encounter.