Body Camera Policy
Utah Department of Public Safety
Policy 620 USE OF PORTABLE DIGITAL VIDEO RECORDERS
620.1 PURPOSE AND SCOPE
This policy provides guidelines for the use of portable video recording devices by members of this department while in the performance of their Portable video recording devices include all recording systems whether body-worn, hand held or integrated into portable equipment.
This policy does not apply to lawful surreptitious video recording, interception of communications for authorized investigative purposes or to mobile video.
The Department may provide members with access to portable digital recorders, for use during the performance of their duties.
The use of the recorders is intended to enhance the mission of the Department by accurately capturing contacts between members of the Department and the public.
Activate– Any process that causes the Portable Digital Recorder to transmit or store video data in an active mode
Digital Recorded Media– Any audio/video recordings stored on a storage device, portable media, or saved over a wireless uploading process.
Portable Digital Recorder– (PDR) Refers to any system that captures audio and digital video signals, that is capable of being worn on the outermost garment, glasses or helmet of an officer, and that includes at minimum, a camera, microphone, recorder.
Personally Owned PDR– Can be approved for use by Section All recording fall under the same requirements as digital recording from a department issued devices.
620.3 PRIVACY EXPECTATION
All recordings made by officers acting in their official capacity shall remain the property of the Department and are for official use only.
1. This policy applies to whether those recordings were made with department-issued or personally owned Officers shall have no expectation of privacy or ownership interest in the content of these recordings.
2. When an officer with a body-worn camera enters a private residence the officer shall give notice, when reasonable under the circumstances, to the occupants of the residence that a body-worn camera is in use either by:
- wearing a body-worn camera in a clearly visible manner; or
- giving an audible notice that the office is using a body-worn camera.
620.4 OFFICER’S RESPONSIBILITIES
This section applies to those officers who have been issued a PDR device by the Department, and officers using approved personally owned PDR’s while on-duty.
Prior to going into service, each officer will be responsible for making sure they are equipped with a portable digital recorder (PDR) issued by the Department, and that the recorder is in good working order.
- If the recorder is not in working order or malfunctions at any time, the member shall promptly report the failure to his/her supervisor and obtain a functioning device as soon as practicable and log the equipment failure or malfunction in their daily log.
- Any officer assigned to a non-uniformed position may carry an approved PDR under the following situations:
- If a PDR is available, and
- At any time the member believes that such a device may be useful.
- When using a portable recorder, the assigned member shall record his/her name, department identification number and the current date and time at the beginning and the end of the shift or other period of use, regardless of whether any activity was This procedure is not required when the recording device and related software captures the user’s unique identification and the date and time of each recording.
- Officers should document the existence of a recording in any report or other official record of the contact, including any instance where the recorder malfunctioned or the officers deactivated the recording.
- Officers should include the reason for The reason for the deactivation of the video camera may include the following:
- to consult with a supervisor or another officer;
- during a significant period of inactivity; and
- during a conversation with a sensitive victim of crime, a witness of a crime, or an individual who wishes to report or discuss criminal activity if:
- the individual who is the subject of the recording requests that the officer deactivate the officer’s body-worn camera; and
- the officer believes that the value of the information outweighs the value of the potential recording and records the request by the individual to deactivate the body-worn camera.
Audio/Video Recorder will be positioned and adjusted to record events in consideration of:
- Positioning for optimum light.
- Positioning of camera for optimum video capture of police related activities.
- Any exterior activities that would be deemed important to the
- Officer safety is always the first consideration and should, in no way, be compromised in order to meet the above stated requirements
620.5 ACTIVATION OF THE PORTABLE RECORDER
This policy is not intended to describe every possible situation in which the portable recorder should be used, although there are many situations where its use is appropriate.
- Officers should activate the recorder any time the member believes it would be appropriate or valuable to record an incident.
When an officer’s patrol vehicle is equipped with Mobile Audio Video equipment and the officer has also been issued a Portable Digital Video Recorder (PDR) it is recommended that both devices are activated in all situations requiring audio/video recording, so long as the activation of both devices can be accomplished without compromising officer safety.
The portable recorder should be activated in any of the following situations:
- All enforcement and investigative contacts including stops, field interview situations, and assigned incidents
- Traffic stops including, but not limited to, traffic violations and all crime interdiction stops.
- Any other contact that becomes adversarial after the initial contact in a situation that would not otherwise require recording
620.5.1 MEDICAL CARE CONSIDERATIONS
- An image or recording of a patient may be considered protected in a healthcare setting under HIPAA patient privacy Every effort should be made not to record in the following circumstances:
- Patient care in a healthcare facility.
- Medical personnel directly treating a patient unless the patient becomes adversarial with officers and/or medical staff in relation to the active law enforcement incident.
620.6 SURREPTITIOUS USE OF THE PORTABLE RECORDER
Utah law permits an individual to surreptitiously record any conversation in which one party to the conversation has given his/her permission (Utah Code 77-23a-4)
- Officers of the Department may surreptitiously record any conversation during the course of a criminal investigation in which the member reasonably believes that such a recording will be lawful and beneficial to the investigation.
- Officers shall not surreptitiously record another department member without a court order unless lawfully authorized by the Commissioner or the authorized designee.
620.6.1 PROHIBITED USE OF PORTABLE RECORDERS
- Officers are prohibited from using department-issued portable recorders and recording media for personal use and are prohibited from making personal copies of recordings created while on-duty or while acting in their official capacity.
- Officers shall not duplicate or distribute such recordings, except for authorized legitimate department business. All such recordings shall be retained at the Department.
- Officers are prohibited from using personally owned recording devices while on-duty without the express consent of the Section. Any officer who uses a personally owned recorder for department-related activities shall comply with the provisions of this policy, including retention and release requirements.
- Recordings shall not be used by any officer for the purpose of embarrassment or ridicule.
620.7 RETENTION OF RECORDINGS
Any time an officer records any portion of a contact that the member reasonably believes constitutes evidence in a criminal case, the member shall record the related case number and transfer the file in accordance with current procedure for storing digital files (Policy 805) and document the existence of the recording in the related case report
1. Transfers should occur at the end of the officer’s shift, or any time the storage capacity is nearing its limit.
- Any time an officer reasonably believes a recorded contact may be beneficial in a non-criminal matter (e.g., a hostile contact), the officer should promptly notify a supervisor of the existence of the recording.
- Recordings will only be released in a manner that is consistent with the Department’s records release policy and only after all GRAMA requirements are completed.
620.7.1 RETENTION REQUIREMENTS
(a) All recordings shall be retained for a period consistent with the requirements of the Department of Public Safety records retention schedule.
620.8 REVIEW OF RECORDINGS
- When preparing written reports, officers should review their recordings as a Officers should not use the fact that a recording was made as a reason to write a less detailed report. Supervisors are required to review relevant recordings any time they are investigating alleged misconduct or reports of meritorious conduct or whenever such recordings would be beneficial in reviewing the officer’s performance.
- Recorded files may also be reviewed:
- Upon approval by a supervisor, by any member of the Department who is participating in an official investigation, such as a personnel complaint, administrative investigation or criminal investigation.
- Pursuant to lawful process or by court personnel who are otherwise authorized to review evidence in a related case.
- By department media personnel with permission of the commissioner or the authorized designee.
- In compliance with a public records request, if permitted, and in accordance with the Records Release and Security Policy.
- Recordings that unreasonably violate a person’s privacy or sense of dignity should not be publicly released unless disclosure is required by law or order of the court.
- Editing any video or audio recording, with the intent to remove any part of an incident is strictly forbidden.
620.9 PERSONAL PRIVACY CONSIDERATION
When the Portable Digital Video Recorder is of the type that continuously captures video or has the ability to capture “pre-event” video footage upon activation, the recorder should be turned off when the trooper is using a restroom, changing clothes, or in any non-law enforcement personal situation which is private in nature.