Body Worn Camera - Project Updates

The Rochester Police Department (RPD) Body Worn Camera (BWC) Project Team completed a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to select a vendor to provide BWCs for the City of Rochester. On January 19, 2016, City Council authorized the City to enter into an agreement with this vendor. This began the implementation phase of our project and the BWC team will regularly post project updates on this page. Please check back regularly for updates.

Click HERE to see the latest recording data for RPD Officers

 February 2019

  • Currently the RPD has 481 cameras assigned to all Patrol personnel from the rank of Lieutenant to Officer, not including Investigators that work in plain clothes.
  • The RPD was recently awarded a grant from the NYS Attorney General in the amount of $104,529.08. As part of the grant requirements, the RPD has agreed to match this grant with $34,843.03. Total amount of new funds for the BWC Program is $139,372.11
      • This money is intended to fund the purchase of additional BWCs and related equipment.
      • The following Sections will be issued BWCs as a result of this funding:
        • All Neighborhood Service Centers (NSC) to include the assigned Lieutenant and Officers;
        • Technical Services Section (TSS) police personnel assigned to the front desk at the Public Safety Building (PSB);
        • License Investigation Unit (LIU);     
        • Special Events Lieutenant and Officer;
        • Research and Evaluation sworn personnel.
  • The new M1G3 camera recently went through a system-refresh from the vendor, Municipal Emergency Services (MES). It was discovered that heat from a controller board within the camera was causing the battery to swell, which in turn caused the BWC to crack where the front panel meets the camera's back panel.
    • MES discovered that this was a manufacturing defect. A gel that should have been evenly applied to the controller board to control the heat was not evenly distributed.
    • The refresh included the following: The installation of a new battery in all M1G3 cameras, a Mylar sheet placed on both sides of the battery and properly covering the board with gel to control the heat.
  • The RPD BWC Program continues to plan for all digital evidence to be stored on our servers and managed using our Digital Evidence Management Software. We have initiated planning to store and catalog all video evidence from cameras placed around the City of Rochester.
  • 2018 Year End statistics:
    o 883,966 Video Files collected and stored
    o 65,379 hours of video collected and stored
    o 122.12 Terabytes of storage space used for all video
    o 26 FOIL requests made for BWC video
  • Plans are currently under way to seek funding to switch to a new web-based digital evidence management system.
  • Future plans for funding the BWC Program are being made for the next 3-5 years.
  • We continue to have a positive relationship with MES. They continue to serve our equipment needs, as well as consulting when we move into different phases of our program, such as adding more digital evidence to our servers.
  • We have not found a need to add personnel to the BWC Program. Currently the RPD BWC Program is staffed with the following people:
    • Program Administrator (RPD Lieutenant)
    • Technical Applications Specialist
    • Digital Media Specialist
      • The need for additional personnel is always being considered as the program evolves.
       
     

 Project Update – August 2018
    

  • Completed transition from the former M1G2 camera to the current M1G3 camera. Currently, all patrol personnel that are assigned a BWC are carrying the Visiologix M1G3 camera.
    • M1G3 camera is proving to be more reliable with less camera malfunctions  
    • Docking and tagging in a patrol car is more reliable and consistent   
  • The RPD has begun to slowly add more Digital Media Evidence (DME) to the storage servers. Currently, 75% of Rochester Police Investigators are having their recorded interviews uploaded to the Digital Management Software System.
    •  This ensures that this important piece of evidence is saved for the appropriate amount of time   
  • Other pieces of Digital Media Evidence that we will be storing on our servers in the near future will be: 
    • Digital Photos taken by Officers
    • Crime Scene Photos taken by Police Technicians
    • Covert Video Recordings
  • We are beginning to talk and plan for a possible upgrade to the Digital Management Software. The vendor is planning on upgrading to a new web version in the near future.

 Project Update – February 2018

  •  October 2017 to January 2018 - Field tested the “Next Generation” BWC.  (30) M1G3 BWCs were field tested by Clinton Section personnel
  •  M1G3 Camera offers the following enhancements: 
    •  30-second, pre-record (muted)
      • Once an officer records a video, the previous 30-seconds is automatically attached to the file.
       
    • LED and Tone to indicate when the camera is powered on and off, when a recording starts and stops and during continuous recording to alert the user that a recording is in progress 
    • A one-touch button to deactivate all LED lights and tones while continuing to record during times where it becomes unsafe for an officer to have these features activated
    • New magnetic clip to ensure that the camera stays on the officer more frequently during a tour of duty
    • Record button on the side of the camera vs. on the front of the camera 
      • This will prevent accidental recordings by accidentally depressing the record button
      • This will also prevent prematurely stopping a recording because the record button was accidentally depressed
       
    • Magnetic connection vs pin connection to connect cameras to a docking station
    • 12 to 14 hour of continuous battery life
    • 32gb internal storage disk
    • Enhanced recording ability for better video quality in low light conditions
     
  • Completed deployment schedule for the transition to the new M1G3 camera
    • Order of occurrence: Clinton Section, Goodman Section, Central Section, Lake Section, Genesee Section, Special Operations Section 
     
  • Continuing to randomly check street and vehicle stops for policy compliance by camera users. As of July 2018, the year-long audit has been completed (See: http://data-rpdny.opendata.arcgis.com/pages/bwc-audit). Click HERE to see the audit results.
  • Received the final report from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) study on the RPD’s BWC Program. Click HERE to view the reports completed by RIT.
  • In the beginning stages of systematically uploading all digital evidence to the Digital Management Software so all digital evidence will be stored and organized in a central location. 

 Project Update – September 2017

  •  July 1, 2016 through March 1, 2017 - Trained and deployed 500 BWCs to all patrol Lieutenants, Sergeants and Officers. 
  •  Hired two civilian employees to help with the administration of the BWC Program. 
    1.  Technical Applications Coordinator: Responsible for the overall technology related to keeping the BWC Program online which includes, downloading all videos that are collected and making sure all data is successfully uploaded to our secure servers. 
    2.  Digital Media Specialist: Responsible for all burning of video that is needed through FOIL, attorney or other source requests. Also responsible for any editing or redacting of video related to a request. 
     
  • Conducted supervisor compliance training to track and ensure that users of the BWCs are activating them according to policy and procedure. 
  •  Developed a procedure to randomly check street stops and vehicle stops for compliance use of the BWC according to policy. 
  •  Incorporated a 24 hour BWC replacement system to ensure that all RPD personnel are equipped with a functional camera while on patrol. 
  •  Continue to work with RIT as they complete their study of the RPD’s implementation and deployment of BWCs.  Click HERE to view reports completed by RIT. 
  •  Beginning to collect data on the use of the BWCs by RPD patrol personnel as it relates to videos collected and storage used. Click HERE to see the data. 

Project Update – December 2016

  • The RPD’s BWC Program is now staffed with three full time employees; (1) Lieutenant, (1) Technology Application Coordinator and (1) Digital Media Specialist.
  • A total of 261 cameras have been assigned to police personnel.
  • Clinton Section, Central Section and Goodman Section are completely trained and deploying cameras on every work shift.
  • Trainers for Lake Section and Genesee Section have been issued cameras.
  • Lake Section and Genesee Section will start training with BWCs in January 2017. It is expected that training will be completed in February of 2017.
  • Upon completion of Lake Section and Genesee Section training, Special Operations Division (SOD) will begin deployment of the BWCs.
  • SOD is comprised of Tactical Officers, K-9 Officers, School Resource Officers (SROs) and the Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU).
  • Our goal is to complete the first phase of BWC training and deployment (about 504 cameras) by the end of March 2017.
  • Once this is completed, all Officers, Sergeants and Lieutenants assigned to the Patrol Division will be using BWCs full time.

Project Update – October 14, 2016   

  • The Deployment of BWCs in the Clinton Section was completed on October 7, 2016. 104 BWCs are now being worn by officers and supervisors in the Clinton Section.
  • The BWC Manual and appendixes were updated on October 12, 2016, to reflect the lessons learned during the Clinton Section deployment process.  In particular:
    • We have clarified that enforcement activity includes both arrests and prisoner transports.
    • We have provided a process for addressing technology malfunctions (Section VII.B), to include the documentation of the malfunction in Department reports.
    • We have added a retention category for quality of service inquiries, which represent 911 calls to supervisors inquiring about the service provided by officers during calls for service.
    • You can review the updated manual and appendixes on the web, and may also compare the changes with past versions that will remain available on the City website.
  • On October 10, 2016, we began to train in Central Section.  As of October 14, 2016, there will be six individuals in Central Section who will begin to use the BWC during their normal patrol activity. They will familiarize themselves with the technology and then assist in training the remaining members of Central Section. 
  • General training of the remaining 50 officers and supervisors in Central Section will begin on October 24, 2016, and is expected to be completed by November 4, 2016. 
  • We are in the process of completing the installation of equipment for the Goodman and Lake Section Offices. Training and deployment of BWCs is expected to occur in November for Goodman Section; December for Lake Section.  
 

Project Update – September 1, 2016 

  • The schedule for Sections  to train and receive body-worn cameras is: Clinton Section, Central Section, Goodman Section, Lake Section, Genesee Section and Special Operations Section.
    • The RPD is working towards a goal of having all police Sections equipped with BWCs in the first quarter of 2017; a deployment of about 504 cameras. 
     
  • Currently, 33 Police personnel from Clinton Section are actively using BWCs and we are working towards full implementation in Clinton Section by September 30th, 2016. At that time, Clinton Section will have over 100 full-time users of BWCs.
  • We are starting to collect and store video recordings from the Clinton Section Officers who are using them. For example, with 33 cameras deployed in a recent eight-day period, we collected 138 gigabytes of data, which equates to about 96.6 hours of recordings.
  • Some technical problems have been encountered, especially with software related to tagging videos in the police car. We are continuing to work with our vendor to resolve these issues and improve the process.
    • This software allows a BWC user to place the report number, address and classification code on the video file directly from the computer in the car. This is important to RPD’s processes for storing and searching for video files.
    • This process minimizes the amount of time BWC users are out of their patrol areas. 
     
  • We are still working on integrating the District Attorney’s (DA’s) Office with our BWC system to retrieve crime-related videos for case prosecution. In the meantime, RPD is providing needed recordings to the DA’s Office.
    • We hope to have the DA’s office on-line within the next several months.
    • This process is also technology-driven and requires integration of the City of Rochester and Monroe County’s respective IT systems.
    • Currently, any requests for video are being processed through the RPD’s BWC Manager. 
     
  • RPD has hired a Technical Applications Coordinator to assist with the BWC Program.
    • This person is responsible for maintaining and making improvements to the BWC application, and has extensive experience in managing computer applications. 
     
  • Currently the RPD is reviewing applications for a Media Specialist position to work in the BWC Program.
    • The RPD is hoping to have this position filled by the end of September. 
     
  • The RPD continues to meet with the Rochester Police Locust Club (Labor Union) to discuss labor items related to the BWC Program.   

Project Update – June 6, 2016

  • The BWC manual has been updated based on both public and police personnel comments and suggestions. Click here for the updated version.
  • The implementation schedule has been adjusted to reflect additional time needed to integrate the BWC software with the City of Rochester IT systems at the Police Sections. We still plan to begin deployment in July and complete the deployment of 504 cameras by January 2017, as previously announced.
  • Docking stations that will upload video collected by police officers have been installed in the Clinton Section.
  • Docking stations and software that will allow officers to add information to videos collected via a BWC has been installed in patrol vehicles assigned to Clinton Section.
  • The BWC Program Manager is working with the Section Captains and NSC Lieutenants to present information at selected community meetings. Click here for updated dates and locations of these meetings.
  • Periodic BWC Project updates are being sent to the US Department of Justice as part of fulfilling requirements for the grant that was received to partially fund this project.

Project Update – March 30, 2016

  • During January, City Council authorized the City to enter into an agreement with Municipal Emergency Services (MES) for BWC equipment (Ordinance Number 2016-35).
  • Shortly after receiving council approval we (the BWC project managers) met with MES representatives to discuss contract terms and began to outline a common project schedule.
  • On February 16, 2016, an agreement was signed between the City of Rochester and MES for the BWC Program.
  • Members of MES and RPD have begun to meet weekly to outline new work, responsibilities and review the status of ongoing tasks. The project schedule has been updated to reflect tasks assigned to MES.
  • RPD has met multiple times with members of the RPLCl to discuss policy items. Additional meetings are scheduled during March.
  • We have completed two phone conferences with representatives of the Department of Justice (DOJ) who are responsible for assisting those receiving grant funds with BWC projects.
  • We are in the process of submitting orders for computer servers necessary for the BWC system, and we remain on schedule for the first deployment of BWCs in our first police section during July 2016.

 

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