The Everett Police Department is considering the implementation of body cameras for its officers. Success of the pilot body camera video program will be measured by tracking several metrics, including:
- the use of police force,
- assaults by police,
- complaints made by the community,
- police injuries, and
- the number of guilty pleas entered before trial.
The Seattle Police Department (SPD) has implemented the use of body cameras since May 2017 pursuant to Executive Order 2017-03 in an effort to increase public trust, accountability, and transparency in interactions between law enforcement and the general public. The SPD body camera policy includes some of the following requirements:
- Although the body camera video policy was not implemented to create evidence, body camera video recordings may become evidence as a by-product of Seattle Police Department processes.
- Police offers wearing body cameras must provide notification of recording as soon as practicable. Reasonable efforts to inform persons that they are being recorded must be made to:
- non-English speakers;
- individuals with limited English proficiency; and
- individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Police officers may not inquire about the immigration status or attempt to obtain the immigration status of an individual on camera, except under limited circumstances pursuant to Seattle Municipal Code (4.18) and Seattle Police Department policy (6.020) where the police have a reasonable suspicion that:
- the person has been previously deported from the US;
- is present again in the United States; and
- is committing or has committed a felony violation.
- Individuals will not be able to view video recordings at the time of the incident, but a public disclosure request can be made to view video recordings.
- Under certain circumstances, individuals may request to not be recorded. Police officers are given discretion to stop recording where an individual's privacy is outweighed by the need to record the event. This includes situations such as:
- natural death scenes;
- notifications of death;
- interviews of children or sexual assault victims;
- cultural or religious objections to recording; and
- in any situation where the recording would impede and/or limit victim or witness cooperation.
- If police officers enter a private residence, they must seek consent to record video. If permission to record is denied, video recording will be stopped but audio recording will continue.
- Body camera videos may be disclosed to the public as a public record through a request under the Public Records Act (PRA). Recognizing privacy concerns, a request for body camera video recordings must include specific information about the video sought and cannot be overly broad. Moreover, audio and video recordings may be redacted with faces or identifying items blurred and/or boxed out when released to the public if it is generally offensive to the public or where the person recorded has a reasonable expectation of privacy as governed by State Law.
- Federal authorities and other non-SPD agencies will not have access to body camera video recordings unless shared by SPD in a joint investigation or as required by a Federal warrant. Moreover, they have the same rights as the public to request video recordings.
If you have been recorded by a police body camera and have privacy concerns or questions about your rights, it is important to contact an experienced attorney right away. Contact the Law Office of Steve Karimi. Speak with a member of our legal team by filling out an online case evaluation form or calling (206) 621-8777 today.