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Running Head: NYPD BODY-WORN CAMERA POLICY 1 The NYPD’s Body-Worn Camera Policy Christopher J. Comstock Excelsior College
NYPD BODY-WORN CAMERA POLICY 2 The NYPD’s Body-Worn Camera Policy On January 8, 2018, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) issued Patrol Guide #212-123, which laid out the Department’s policy on the use of body-worn cameras. Titled, “USE OF BODY-WORN CAMERAS,” this 8-page document explained that certain members of the NYPD were now required to wear a body-worn camera while on patrol (New York City Police Department, n.d.). The Policy The NYPD’s policy requires all uniformed patrol officers, sergeants, lieutenants and even detectives performing patrol duties, to be equipped with, and utilize, body-worn cameras while on patrol (New York City Police Department, n.d.) The policy states that assigned members must activate these cameras to record during a multitude of situations. These situations include involvement with in-progress criminal incidents, traffic stops, searches, uses of force and arrests, amongst others (New York City Police Department, n.d.). The policy also prohibits officers from activating their cameras in certain situations. These situations include being in the presence of undercover officers, during strip searches and while inside of a hospital, amongst others (New York City Police Department, n.d.). The process leading to the New York City Police Department issuing this policy began in 2014 after a federal judge mandated that the department begin implementing body-worn camera use (Goodman, 2014). This order was part of the judge’s ruling which declared the agency’s controversial “stop and frisk” policy unconstitutional (Goodman, 2014). The initial rollout of the New York City Police Department’s body-worn cameras consisted of 60 cameras spread out amongst the city’s five boroughs as part of a pilot program (Goodman, 2014).
NYPD BODY-WORN CAMERA POLICY 3 By January of 2018, the New York City Police Department instituted their current policy and equipped 20,000 members of their 34,000 member police force with body-worn cameras (Smetlz, 2018). The process of deciding to equip this many officers with cameras was originally expected to take longer, however the department’s administration expanded the camera program after the pilot program proved successful (Smetlz, 2018). This decision left some believing that not enough research was done prior to the department signing a multi-year contract costing millions of dollars (Smeltz, 2018). The New York City Police Department was not unique in their decision to create a policy mandating the use of body-worn cameras by their officers. In a 2016 report by the U.S. Department of Justice, they found that 95% of large city police departments either already had body-worn camera programs or were planning on having one soon (Miller, 2019). This same report also stated that nearly half of all municipal police departments in the United States had already implemented a body-worn camera program (Miller, 2019).

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