Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the RPD BWC Manual

Current BWC Manual - August 2018

How many Body-Worn Cameras (BWCs) are currently deployed in the Rochester Police Department (RPD)?

Approximately 500 cameras are currently in use.

Who is issued a BWC? (Page 3, Section III)

Lieutenants, Sergeants and Officers assigned to the following patrol functions: Lake, Genesee, Goodman, Clinton and Central), Neighborhood Service Center (NSC) Crime Prevention Officers, Special Operations Section (SOS), and the Tactical, Traffic Enforcement, Canine, Youth Services (School Resource Officers) and Mounted Patrol units.

When will the BWC be on? (Page 4, Section IV)

Members of the RPD who are issued a BWC 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 police-related activities are: 911 calls for service, self-initiated street stops, traffic stops, prisoner transports and vehicle pursuits)

When will the BWC be off? (Page 6, Section E / Page 7, Section F)

Members will be prohibited from recording when any law forbids video or audio recording. Other examples 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 7, Section E, Paragraph 2)

Members 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 BWC? (Page 8, Section G)

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

Who in RPD can see data captured from a BWC? (Page 12, Section A)

Police officers will have access to recordings made with their issued BWCs. 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? (Page 23, Section A & B)

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.

Can an uninvolved party request a video that relates to my interaction with a police officer? (Page 25, 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 BWCs be retained? (Appendix A)

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