Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the RPD BWC Draft Manual

How many cameras will the Rochester Police Department deploy when the program is complete?

Approximately 504 cameras will be deployed when the body-worn program is fully implemented.

How long will it take for the Rochester Police Department to fully implement its body-worn camera program?

Starting in July of 2016, the Clinton Section within the Rochester Police Department will train and begin to operate the body-worn cameras. The Police Department expects to have all of the Sections trained in early 2017.

Who will be issued a body-worn camera? (Page 4, Section III)

Police Officers and Sergeants assigned to a patrol section; Supervisors and officers assigned to the Neighborhood Service Centers; Police Officers and Sergeants assigned to the Special Operations Section to include: Tactical Unit, Traffic Enforcement Unit, Canine Unit, Youth Services Unit (School Resource Officers) and the Mounted Unit.

When will the camera be on? (Page 5, Section A)

Members of the Rochester Police Department who are issued a body-worn camera are required to activate and record all activities and contacts with people in the course of performing a police-related activity subject to some limited exceptions. (Some examples of a police-related activity are: 911 calls for service, self-initiated street stops by a police officer, traffic stops, prisoner transports and vehicle pursuits)

When will the camera be off? (Page 7, Section C / Page 8, Section D)

Members will be prohibited from recording when any law forbids video or audio recording. Other examples of when the camera will be turned off are: internal police matters, when inside a locker room within an RPD facility, when conversations are not part of an official police duty and during strip searches or body cavity searches.

Can a citizen opt out of being recorded, such as when an officer is inside a home? (Page 10, Section G)

Members do have the discretion in certain circumstances to stop recording upon a citizen’s request. If the situation involves an arrest, detention or use of force, however, the officer must continue recording.

Can a citizen request that a particular incident be recorded with the member’s body-worn camera? (Page 10, Section G)

A citizen can request that a body-worn camera be activated. Unless the recording is prohibited by Rochester Police Department policy, the member will record the incident upon a request to do so.

Who in RPD can see data captured from a body-worn camera? (Page 10-11, Section A)

Police officers will have access to the recordings that they made with their issued cameras. Every police supervisor and investigator will have access to the entire data base of video footage collected for police-related purposes only. In sensitive or confidential cases, access to videos may be restricted.

How will persons who are arrested have access to videos of their arrests?

The Monroe County District Attorney’s (DA’s) Office will have access to video footage for prosecutorial purposes only. The DA’s Office will provide video to defendants as required. (Page 18, Section A & B)

Can an uninvolved party request a video that relates to my interaction with a police officer? (Page 19-21, Sections A-D)

Persons may file a request under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) for recordings. The City will consider each request and comply with the requirements of FOIL.

How long will the data from body-worn cameras be retained? (Appendix A, Last three pages of Policy)

Please refer to Appendix A, which can be found on the last three pages of the draft policy. Retention rates are based on criminal and civil statutes of limitations and New York State Records Retention Requirements.