Body Worn Cameras (BWC)
It is the policy of the Falls Township Police Department that Body Worn Cameras (BWC) will be deployed by assigned department personnel in compliance with State and Federal laws regulating the use of Audio and Video recording devices and with the provisions outlined in this Policy.
The purpose of this Policy is to establish guidelines and procedures for the use of Body Worn Cameras. The recording equipment will be a valuable component for the Department’s primary goal of citizen safety. Additionally, the BWC will enhance the officer safety program, criminal prosecutions and the protection of the officers and Department from frivolous lawsuits.
BWCs promote police accountability and transparency. The practical utility of BWCs discourages officers and civilians from engaging in inappropriate conduct. These devices also discourage both law enforcement and civilian witnesses from providing false information about the circumstances of the encounter. A BWC recording not only can exonerate an officer who is falsely accused of misconduct, but also discourage a person from making false allegations against the officer in the first place.
BWCs are viewed as a valuable asset intended to assist department members in solving crimes and successfully prosecuting offenders by augmenting an officer’s testimony with a video/audio record of the incident. BWC recordings preserve accurate visual depictions of physical evidence and also document how physical evidence was found, thereby helping to establish the facts that must be presented in Fourth Amendment suppression hearings. BWCs also record the physical appearance of suspects and crime victims, preserving evidence of any apparent injuries. The audio portion of BWC recordings will document witness and suspect statements, preserving not only the substantive content of those statements, but also showing whether officers had complied with Miranda and other legal requirements. Additionally, this equipment will enable department administrators to conduct periodic reviews of officer-citizen contacts for quality control purposes, aid in the investigation of citizen complaints and aid in the training of Department personnel.