Law enforcement use of body-worn cameras: Questions & Answers
In 2015, the State of Oregon passed House Bill 2571 relating to law enforcement use of body-worn cameras. In December 2015, the Beaverton Police Department (BPD) was awarded a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice and developed a body-worn camera pilot program. The pilot program included public input, policy development, testing and procurement of a camera system, and officer training. In spring 2017, BPD implemented the use of body-worn cameras.
Here are some frequently asked questions about BPD’s Body-Worn Camera Program:
Q: Where can I read BPD’s policy on body-worn cameras?
The body-worn camera policy can be found by visiting https://www.beavertonpolice.org/275/Body-Worn-Camera.
Q: How do the camera’s three modes work?
Off Mode– no recording at all.
Buffering Mode – recording video but not sound. The visual recording holds 30 seconds of video before it recycles.
Recording Mode– full video and sound being recorded.
Officers patrol in “Buffering” mode. When they take enforcement action or begin an investigation they activate the “Recording” function. The camera automatically records and saves video from the prior 30 seconds when the camera was in “buffering” mode. Once the “Recording” function is on, the camera is recording audio and visual until it is turned off.
Q: Who is required to wear a body-worn camera?
Body-worn cameras are worn by all officers and supervisors working a uniformed assignment in patrol operations. Patrol operations include the Traffic Safety Division and K9 Unit. School Resource Officers (SRO) and the SRO supervisor also wear body-worn cameras.
Where are cameras placed on the officer’s uniform? Is the video quality clear?
Officers are required to wear the body-worn cameras on the center of their torso. The camera has the ability for 480p, 720p, or 1080p. BPD has chosen to use 720p because it is the best combination of video quality and storage space.
A sample video taken from a BPD officer’s body-worn camera can be viewed by visiting https://www.beavertonpolice.org/275/Body-Worn-Camera.
I’d like to learn more about BPD’s other policies. Where can I find further information?
You can learn more about BPD’s policies and practices by visiting https://www.beavertonpolice.org/27/About-Us.