News: I obtained via the public records act the latest draft of the upcoming combined in-car and body worn video policy. The draft was first discussed by KOMO: Seattle police one step closer to adding body cameras They didn’t post the document and Public Affairs was uncomfortable with releasing a draft. So I requested it on July 6. I received the electronic version on July 8. Thanks Mary Perry for the fast release. See the current in-car video policy and the body worn video pilot policy.

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Opinion:

I’m pleased to see that the policies for the two camera systems will likely be combined.

This draft policy makes no mention of the need to secure the body worn cameras in a way that they can’t fall off. For chest mounted cams I’d like to think something could be sewn onto the uniform for the cam to go into. By covering the edges it would be much harder for a suspect to grab onto the camera or for it to fall off. Cameras falling off is a national issue, see State Rep: BOTH Body Cameras Fell Off & Didn’t Record in Alton Sterling Shooting

I think something like the following should be added to the in-car video policy: “If video activated later than it should have been then follow page 21/22 of http://67.225.133.110/~gbpprorg/nfl/COBANcompleteUserManual.pdf. For example if you stop a driver for violations that occured prior to 1 minute before activation of the camera system then add pre-event video starting when you noticed the driver to the video that will be saved to the server. If officer not logged in when going to a call then fail-safe video recovery must be ordered.” This way lawyers, judges, and juries will always be able to see an idea of what the officer(s) saw. The last line is in reference to “In one embodiment, the system may be configured to automatically record data and associate the recorded data with a default account even if the officer has not yet authenticated to the system” from A Coban patent

Regarding the shutting off of body cameras inside homes and other private spaces. I would rather SPD kept the audio going. The in-car video system range often isn’t long enough to record audio inside homes. Audio would help with a he-said-she-said situation. Also I think policy should say to turn cams on immediately if use of force occurs inside a private space or a crime occurs after cam turned off. Policy should stay to turn cam back on private space left.

One officer had mentioned to me an issue about being in a restroom with a camera with a 30 second pre-buffer. Policy should stay that camera is to be activated 30 seconds after leaving a private space such as a restroom.

I think the department should make both in-car and body worn video remotely activatable by dispatchers.

For access to videos I think Public Affairs should be added to the list as they’re already proactively releasing videos.

Regarding the flagging, I think it needs to be broken out into in-car video and body worn video. There’s more items needed for BWV like enetering a private place or CJIS data showing on computer.