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Cops on the beat may resist body cameras, but some of their bosses will try them out

As the city and the police union await a judge's decision on whether Boston Police can force 100 officers to wear body cameras in a pilot, BPD is announcing that eight commanders will start wearing the devices.

Superintendent-In-Chief William Gross and seven other members of the command staff will be trained and equipped with body worn cameras as they perform their street duties. Commissioner Evans asked members of his command staff to volunteer to wear the cameras to demonstrate the department’s willingness to explore this new policing tool and to show his continued support for the officers who have been assigned to participate in the pilot program. These eight commanders are the supervisors overseeing the delivery of uniformed police services to the neighborhoods of the city. ...

The commanders who will be participating all have duties that may require them to be out in the community responding to critical incidents and overseeing special events across the city. The command staff members will be bound by the same policy that is currently in place and will wear the cameras for the duration of the anticipated pilot program. They will not however be part of the study group.

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Comments

*SOME* of the bosses..

Not *THE* boss.

Thanks Evans!

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What do you need a body camera on Evans for? You going to need to make sure he's not steeling KCups or paperclips from the office supply closet?

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Corruption of appointed/elected and powerful officials is a very real thing that seems to be overlooked by a long string of AGs.

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I don't disagree, but do you think body cameras are the best way to address that corruption?

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I think body cameras with no clear rules regarding the dissemination of information recorded on them are in general a garbage idea.

It is hilarious seeing the reaction to the revelation that the government was secretly recording protests from the sky in Baltimore from the same people that want to put a camera on every cop everywhere.

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Rules that restrict the use of recorded data to felony investigations/use of force. Rules the restricts the use to the data without a warrant. Rules that allow citizens in non criminal interactions to reject being recorded by the state (this is explicitly ruled against in the departments homemade rules). Rules that prevent the dissemination of these non criminal actions to any governmental or civilian organization/person without judicial review. Rules the demand files not related to a felony investigation or use of force be deleted immediately following a shift. Rules that prevent a political appointee from making his own rules. Rules that require judicial approval to retain videos for felony investigation.

Giving the police commissioner ( a political appointee) extrajudicial control of this data is entirely inappropriate.

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Because it is the only city that has ever used body cameras. Ever.

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Boston is not where the solution needs to originate. This needs to be solved in the state house. Judicial review needs to be implemented. Privacy rights need to be protected. Victims of crimes need to be protected. The FOIA access to this data needs to be specifically limited to protect crime victims as well as the general public.

Imagine the victim of a crime being uploaded to youtube following a FOIA request. Imagine the family that lost a son (like the recent story here) and having your grief shared with the world. No clear rules at the state level no support from me.

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And if you did, you would be responsible for it.

Like regular police reports, you are only allowed to see them if you are an actual victim. Even now attorneys sometimes have to view footage at a specific location but isn't allowed to take it anywhere.

Also, anyone with a scanner can follow the police around and record you, and if it isn't public (or where someone would have an expectation of privacy), the officer is required to get consent from the person.

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https://rcfp.org/bodycam_policies/MA/Boston_BWC_Policy.pdf

Video data will be subject to the Freedom of Inform
ation Act with the written
approval of the Commissioner.

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If a victim is in a video, only certain people can access that video with FOIA.

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All the report says is video data is subject to FOIA requests. What limits are there? Probably none without a state law. WCVB etc etc could say I want video data from officer x on 9/9/16 and if you are on the data you are on the data.

At least that is my perception of the current standard.

Edit: I misunderstood your point about protecting the victim. I am not so sure a video with a victim of a crime being used as evidence is protected.

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And I am no expert on the new camera policy, but I have worked extensively with some FIOA requests.

If WCVB says they want video from Officer Smith on 9/1/16 from 7pm to 10pm, the police will have to pay for someone to review it, and then send a bill to WCVB within a certain amount of days. If there is a victim telling an officer they were just a victim of a crime on the video, this is not public information and would not be released. I am not sure if they would black out faces and mute the audio? These are the important questions you want answered, but I'm guessing they will have to do it as I described above. There is too much liability in releasing videos of victims.

Edit: It would be just like if WCVB said they want the report from Officer Smith on 9/1/16 that he wrote from an incndent that happened from 7pm to 10pm. The police may give them the report, but they would have all the names, events, places, and even crimes blacked out.

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Instead of a patchwork of local rules the MA legislature really needs to make this a top priority when they return. I support the use of body cameras, but not without significant limits and judicial review. Not to mention legal punishments for a violation of rules regarding the usage of data.

Right now the only consequence of violating BPD video rules is internal. Officers should face real penalties for violating video rules.

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And it is a year in prison for violating public records offense, but I'm not sure anyone has every been charged with it and that is another problem. The statutes are there and it would be the Boston Police who would charge them anyway, it's not like the State is going to have employees doing this work.

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I have a hard time believing jail is a milder consequence than any internal punishment. The consequence of the misuse of personal data should indeed be jail.

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Hard to do in many criminal cases. Internally they can do much more including firing you which is usually easier than getting a conviction. You are talking about million dollar jobs and pensions here over 20 years

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State law already gives police chief's various powers over citizens' enumerated constitutional rights (something the USSC should have slapped the state upside the head for already). Why would this be any different?

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It's a two way street. Want the world to see one cop out of 10,000 doing something he shouldn't be doing? Let the world see what the other 9,999 get to deal with on a daily basis!

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And what about 99.9% of people that are neither violating the law or doing anything other than having a momentary interaction with an officer?

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If you are in public, you can be on camera.

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I take it you have no qualms about the expansion of the surveillance state? No issues with the federales using unmarked planes to record people?

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As the Commissioner, Evans is no longer a cop, as it is a civilian appointment. Chief Gross, who is the top cop in the department, is one of the ones doing this.

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You can always tell a true leader by by how he or she lead by example.

As a resident of the city of Boston, I am against Boston police officers wearing body cams.
It is my belief that it will affect community policing in a negative way. Because of the Boston police effective community policing some police offices gain the trust of the community. People who have information to share with the police morely will not come up to police officer and share; fearing they would be caught on camera and voice. and maybe down the line getting a subpoena to be forced to testify.

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Is this the new line from the union?

Cameras will scare away informants and we'll never crack a case again?

Horses#!t.

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If one cop wears them they should all wear them in the city of Boston. The Governor should order state agencies like MSP, Transit and Massport police that patrol the streets of Boston to wear them. Otherwise this looks like a PR stunt to appease the BLM movement.

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BPD doesn't want to wear body cams? Hmmm if they have nothing to hide why not wear them?
I mean isn't that what they say to us peasants when they ask to search a car, bag etc. without a warrant or probable cause and people refuse?

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The dissemination of non criminal interactions with police recorded by these cameras remains unclear. Until it becomes clear, no support from me.

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If you don't bother doing your homework. Rob posted the link above. Go read it if you want the info.

But it is clear that you aren't interested in reality here or in any sphere of your life. You must really enjoy your fact-free existence muddled by ceaseless paranoia and conspiracy opinions.

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I did, there is nothing stopping a political appointee from disseminating data from non criminal interactions. There is nothing stopping the eternal retention of the data. There is nothing allowing citizens not to approve of being recorded. There is NO JUDICIAL REVIEW OVER THE USE OF THE DATA

The rules are garbage.

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Sec. 2.7. Recording of Victims / Witnesses:
If a BWC officer is in range of visual or audio recording of a victim or witness who is giving their first account of a crime, the officer may record the encounter but should weigh the BWC Discretionary Recording Considerations specified in Section 2.4 in determining whether to activate or discontinue recording. If the decision to activate and/or continue recording is made, notification shall be made as specified in Section 2.5.
If the victim is in anyway unsure of the need for the recording to be made or is uncomfortable with the thought of being recorded, the officer shall inform the civilian that they can request to have the BWC turned off. If the camera is already activated, the request to turn the BWC off should be recorded, as well as the officer’s response

Witnesses and victims can request the cameras be disabled. Meanwhile, there's no standard of evidence being created here, so why would they include a policy for judicial review? Police cruisers all have dashboard cameras, some of which have no doubt captured unpleasant things. Literally every single case I have ever encountered of a police dash cam being released, it was released by the PD of its own volition. In an FOIA request is in danger of violating someone's civil rights, we'll use the enormous existing body of law to deal with it, rather than rewrite the thing from the ground up for a pilot program of 100 officers.

This is some grade-A concern trolling here, fella, but even when you keep moving the goalposts, the answers keep popping up in this one document you apparently refuse to read.

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Again not adequate. What if a victim is unable to consent? What if a victim is unaware (and unable to comprehend) they are being recorded?

Why can a victim have recording stopped but not Joe Schmoe who does not consent to being recorded?

It will take a state law to protect this data from FOIA requests. 'Rules' created by a political appointee are not adequate.

The ACLU expresses quite similar concerns regarding their use.

https://www.aclu.org/police-body-mounted-cameras-right-policies-place-wi...

" Overall, we think they can be a win-win—but only if they are deployed within a framework of strong policies to ensure they protect the public without becoming yet another system for routine surveillance of the public, and maintain public confidence in the integrity of those privacy protections. Without such a framework, their accountability benefits would not exceed their privacy risks."

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If not, stfu. Or at least bring some data to the table rather than your usual paranoia.

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Good point. Only lawyers can complain about laws. Who do us plebes think we are challenging the powers that be?

Good lord the amount of self infatuation of the political process of 'bostonians' here in the boston market and the self importance is absurd. Only politicians and lawyers matter, the rest of us should STFU!

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3
Sec. 2
.
6
.
Consent to Record: Aside from the
restriction in Section 2.3
(Recording within a Residence), BWC officers are not required to obtain consent to record. If a civilian has requested
the BWC officer to stop recording, officers have no obligation to stop recording if the recording is pursuant to the
circumstances identified in Section 2.2
.
When evaluating whether or not to continue recording, BWC officers should
weigh the BWC Discretionary Recording Considerations specified in
Section 2.4.The request to turn the BWCoff should be recorded, as well as the officer’s response
.

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Talk about 'strong rules' to protect the privacy of the general public!!!

If an officer receives a request for BWC footage from the Media, the request
shall be directed to the Commander, Office of Media Relations. All other requests for BWC recordings,including victim or witness requests,shall be directedto the Office of the Legal Advisor.

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So they protect themselves from recording but not the public?

RESTRICTIONS
:
Sec.
7.1.
Improper Recording: BWC’s shall not be used to record:
....
2.
Any personal conversation of or between other department employees without the recorded employee’s knowledge;

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If you are a victim of a crime do you want to end up on youtube because of a FOIA request?

I certainly would not and there is nothing in the rules preventing that.

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Prove it.

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Prove that something has happened that has not yet happened because the cameras have not yet been deployed? Follow the bottom link. Video is subject to the FOIA.

https://www.rcfp.org/bodycam-video-access
As such, there should be little argument that bodycam videos are public records subject to disclosure under most open records laws. They are created as part of the official operations of police departments, are under their control, and relate to the public’s business. Emerging technologies – from email to dashcams – have required state agencies to adjust their practices in the past. While bodycam videos may present a few new twists, they can be accommodated under existing law.
https://rcfp.org/bodycam_policies/MA/Boston_BWC_Policy.pdf

Video data will be subject to the Freedom of Inform
ation Act with the written
approval of the Commissioner.

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Is very weak.

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What specific aspect of the linked document do you dispute??

Is it your argument that recorded video is not subject to the FOIA? The insular ZOMG Boston is AMAZING! argument is a load of horse shit.

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