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Community Group Reviews RPD Body-Worn Camera Program

Rev. Lewis Stewart presents the report May 16 by the Community Justice Advisory Board on the Rochester Police Department’s body-worn camera program.
Photo by Patti Singer/Minority Reporter

A report by a community activist group said the Rochester Police Department body-worn camera program is off to a good start. But among improvements, the department needs to develop a policy for use of the cameras in schools and require officers to write incident reports before they view the footage of an incident.

The report was released at a news conference May 16 by the Community Justice Advisory Board, part of the United Christian Leadership Ministry led by the Rev. Lewis Stewart.

View the news conference online at www.facebook.com/minorityreporter/videos/478791642891255/

In an executive summary of the report, the CJAB praised the transparency of the process, general clarity of the guidelines, attention to privacy concerns and overall policies for storage of footage and release to the public.

The report, the first of what is expected to be an annual review by the CJAB, evaluated the policy behind the body-worn camera program and how it’s being implemented.

The city started its police body-worn camera program in January 2016 and has been refining the policy ever since. Guidelines for use of body worn cameras are spelled out in a manual, which was updated in August. Among other requirements, the guidelines state when recordings shall be made and how to comply with civilian requests to stop recording.

According to the city website, the manual continues to be reviewed and future changes are possible now that the program has moved from implementation to fully operational status.

To read the report from the Community Justice Advisory Board, click the line below.