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Police Body Camera Policies: Accountability

These categories reflect how a department ensures its policy will be followed and how it uses body camera video for discipline. This chart includes whether officers must document the reason for lack of video, the consequences for violating policy, audit design, supervisory review of video, discipline exemptions for minor misconduct, and if an officer can view their video before writing reports or making statements.

Published: August 3, 2016

Last Updated: July 19, 2019

The body camera policies address several aspects of a depart­ment’s abil­ity to enforce the rules of its policy.

“Explan­a­tion required for fail­ure to record?” and “Consequences for viol­at­ing policy”: Regard­less of how one views the purpose of a BWC program, it only works if the camera is turned on. Many depart­ments require a writ­ten reason when there should be video of an incid­ent but there is not. However, only a few specify consequences for not follow­ing their BWC policy. This should not be read to say there are no consequences — police depart­ments have general discip­lin­ary rules for not follow­ing any policy — but some policies give more specif­ics.

“Audit,” “Can super­visors see video?,” and “Discip­line excep­tion for minor miscon­duct caught on BWC video?”:  Some police officers have expressed concern that wear­ing body cameras will be like having their super­visors watch­ing over their shoulder all day, look­ing for minor miscon­duct. Accord­ingly, certain policies, espe­cially during the pilot phase, have an expli­cit discip­line exemp­tion for minor miscon­duct caught by BWCs. Others limit the situ­ations when a super­visor can view the video. However, there is some tension between officers’ concerns and the need for super­visors to ensure that officers are using the BWCs appro­pri­ately and to monitor their conduct more gener­ally to catch patterns of prob­lem­atic beha­vior. Some depart­ments require super­visors to conduct random reviews of the videos in service to these goals. Others comprom­ise by having audit­ors in a separ­ate unit review the videos to ensure the func­tion­ing of the program.

Can Officer View Video Before Making Report or State­ment?”: There is another, more contro­ver­sial, view­ing ques­tion that gets to the heart of the debate over the purpose of the cameras: Should officers be allowed to view videos before writ­ing their reports? What about in a use-of-force situ­ation, such as when an officer kills someone in the course of duty?

Many depart­ments allow officers to view the video before making a report or state­ment in any circum­stance, with the goal of the most accur­ate report possible. Moreover, the abil­ity to view the foot­age can make police officers more comfort­able wear­ing the cameras. Others suggest that this goal would be better served by writ­ing a report first. From a police account­ab­il­ity perspect­ive, in a case where an officer did use force inap­pro­pri­ately or where there is a discrep­ancy between accounts, permit­ting an officer to view the video before making a state­ment might be prob­lem­atic since it would allow him to tailor his state­ment to fit the evid­ence. Some policies allow view­ing in all cases, some in none, and some separ­ate out routine reports from seri­ous incid­ents, allow­ing pre-report view­ing in the former but not the latter.

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City or Org Explan­a­tion required for fail­ure to record? Consequences for Viol­at­ing Policy Audit Can Super­visors See Video? Discip­line Exemp­tion for Minor Miscon­duct Caught on BWC Video? Can Officer View Video Before Making Report or State­ment?
Arling­ton, TX Yes, officer must docu­ment reason in the report or call sheet. Not specified Super­visors will randomly review five BWC record­ings at least once a month. This is to ensure compli­ance with policy and to appro­pri­ate usage of the BWC. Yes, super­visors can view videos in response to citizen complaints.

“Super­visors shall use their discre­tion to address minor infrac­tions of policy and/or proced­ure and will use the oppor­tun­ity to coun­sel and train employ­ees to prevent future viol­a­tions.”

Yes, officer may view video of incid­ent before making a state­ment as required by state law. In the event of a seri­ous incid­ent, all recor­ded files will be down­loaded by a super­visor as soon as prac­tical. Does not specify whether officer involved can access record­ing in case of a seri­ous incid­ent.

Atlanta Yes, officer must provide a writ­ten report.  Viol­a­tions will be docu­mented and submit­ted to The Office of Profes­sional Stand­ards (OPS) for further review in accord­ance with the Stand­ard Oper­at­ing Proced­ure for Discip­lin­ary Process. All unit command­ers or their design­ees will conduct weekly audits on 5 sworn employ­ees and will complete an audit on all sworn employ­ees once a month. The BWC Compli­ance Admin­is­trator conducts, weekly, random audit and writes monthly report on the find­ings. The BWC Compli­ance Admin­is­trator analyzes the weekly audit forms from unit command­ers. Yes, super­visors can view videos. No exemp­tion, train­ing or writ­ten direct­ive issues that result from the audit will be addressed and recom­mend­a­tions will be provided regard­ing compli­ance and account­ab­il­ity. Addi­tion­ally, if a sworn employee is found to be non-compli­ant with BWC policy, the unit commander or their designee will determ­ine if discip­lin­ary action should be taken or if addi­tional train­ing is needed.  No, officer may only view video after complet­ing an incid­ent report, in the instance of a use of force incid­ent. Officer must include the follow­ing state­ment in the incid­ent report: “I completed the incid­ent report prior to watch­ing the BWC video record­ing of the incid­ent.” 



“Officers will need to artic­u­late the reas­on­ing for the delayed activ­a­tion of their BWC in an offense report, a supple­ment, or other form of Depart­ment approved docu­ment­a­tion.”  Not specified Sergeants conduct quarterly inspec­tions of videos for policy compli­ance.  Super­visors can view to ensure policy compli­ance, invest­ig­ate a specific act of employee conduct, review evid­ence, or write a report. Not specified Yes. Record­ings may be viewed “by the employee to assist with the writ­ing of a report, supple­ment, memor­andum, or prior to making a state­ment about the incid­ent.”



Must docu­ment the reason BWC was inter­rup­ted, termin­ated or not activ­ated in an admin­is­trat­ive report, Form 95.  Any viol­a­tion of the policy or the law will be “repor­ted to the Chief, OPR and Chief, Media Rela­tions Section (MRS), when appro­pri­ate.” The BWC Unit will “conduct peri­odic, random reviews and audits of BWC video” to assess consist­ency of the officer’s activ­ity with the law and BPD policy. Audits will be used to assess “member perform­ance; train­ing and equip­ment needs; and consist­ency between writ­ten reports and record­ing.”

Yes, to review a subor­din­ate’s perform­ance “for the purpose of conduct­ing an invest­ig­a­tion; monit­or­ing a subor­din­ate’s profes­sional conduct/perform­ance; train­ing; and when advan­cing the best interest of the public, the BPD, or the member.” Super­visors must view the video if an officer is injured, there is a use of force or a fatal­ity, or the officer has reason to believe the event may result in a complaint.

No exemp­tion, but record­ings cannot be routinely or randomly viewed for the purpose of find­ing policy viol­a­tions. Yes, for reports and admin­is­trat­ive invest­ig­a­tions. If an officer is involved in a use of force or in-custody death or is the subject of a crim­inal invest­ig­a­tion, the officer can view before complet­ing a report or being inter­viewed as long as 1) prosec­utor has declined to prosec­ute or “the member has been compelled to make a state­ment” and been advised of his or her rights, and 2) the record­ing is viewed at a loca­tion approved by internal affairs.


Yes, “if an officer fails to activ­ate the BWC, fails to record the entire contact, or inter­rupts the record­ing, the officer shall docu­ment in the incid­ent report that a record­ing fail­ure occurred.”  Not specified “Audit and Review shall conduct peri­odic checks to ensure Depart­ment person­nel are using BWCs accord­ing to Depart­ment policy.” Super­visors within the record­ing officer’s chain of command and Bureau Chiefs may review the foot­age consist­ent with Section 4.2. Super­visors outside the chain of command must receive permis­sion from the Video Evid­ence Unit Commander. Not specified Yes, officers are encour­aged to review videos before writ­ing reports, testi­fy­ing in court and making a state­ment. Follow­ing an officer-involved shoot­ing, death or other use of deadly force, super­visors and involved officers cannot view video before the Fire­arm Discharge Invest­ig­a­tion Team and Homicide Unit upload the foot­age into the system.
Char­lotte, NC Yes

“Any viol­a­tion of this direct­ive is considered a viol­a­tion of Rule of Conduct (ROC) #42 (Use of Body Worn Cameras) and will be invest­ig­ated.”

The Policy and Compli­ance Admin­is­trator over­sees audit process that takes place on two levels. On the divi­sion level, super­visors conduct monthly, random audit and on the second-tier level, Profes­sional Stand­ards Bureau conducts monthly, random audit. Profes­sional Stand­ards Bureau handles officer involved shoot­ing and other seri­ous incid­ents. Yes, Sergeants can view video for all officers in their divi­sion. They audit selec­ted video for officer perform­ance and compli­ance with policy. Lieu­ten­ants and above, Internal Affairs, and Police Attor­neys can view all files. No

Officers may review the video to help write reports, provide state­ments for internal invest­ig­a­tions or court testi­mony. Officers may not review foot­age before provid­ing a state­ment for Signi­fic­ant Officer Involved incid­ents, such as officer involved shoot­ings. However, “the view­ing of any record­ing for anything other than approved depart­mental purposes is prohib­ited.”



Yes, officers need to docu­ment the reason for fail­ure by activ­at­ing the BWC and stat­ing the type of incid­ent, event number, and the reason for deac­tiv­at­ing the record­ing. The exec­ut­ive officer will take correct­ive meas­ures for officers who viol­ate policy or train­ing. Any correct­ive action will be docu­mented on the Unit Level Body Worn Camera Program report.  Random review by Watch Oper­a­tions Lieu­ten­ants and regu­lar review by District command­ers to ensure videos are down­loaded and have event numbers. Random audits by the Inspec­tions Divi­sion to ensure compli­ance with this policy. Yes, to invest­ig­ate a complaint or incid­ent, identify videos for train­ing, approve a report that indic­ates the member viewed the video prior to writ­ing the report, or for other invest­ig­at­ive purposes. Can view video at any time for officers that are proba­tion­ary, “have had a pattern of alleg­a­tions of abuse or miscon­duct,” or are on an inter­ven­tion program. Yes, “the Depart­ment does not intend to util­ize the BWC to discip­line members for isol­ated minor Depart­mental rule infrac­tions.” Yes. If officer views video before writ­ing report, he or she must docu­ment this fact in report. Not specified if an officer can view own video before being inter­viewed after an officer involved shoot­ing—the super­visor will take control of the video and a lieu­ten­ant or above will watch it to approve the Tactical Response Report.
Cincin­nati Yes, officer will report incid­ent to their super­visor. The super­visor will invest­ig­ate and docu­ment the incid­ent on Form 17BWC. Yes, super­visors can recom­mend discip­lin­ary action based. Officers are subject to the Cincin­nati Police Depart­ment discip­lin­ary process if they viol­ate the Manual of Rules and Regu­la­tions. Super­visors will ensure officers follow estab­lished proced­ures for use of BWC equip­ment. Access to BWC foot­age online is auto­mat­ic­ally logged to create an elec­tronic audit trail. Inspec­tion section to also conduct quarterly audit to verify BWC compli­ance and make sure super­vis­ory reviews were completed. Yes, super­visors must view video to invest­ig­ate and docu­ment incid­ents involving failed activ­a­tion or deac­tiv­a­tion, along with the purpose of identi­fy­ing videos with train­ing value. No, super­visors may recom­mend discip­lin­ary action while review­ing foot­age. Not specified
Clev­e­land Yes

“Officers shall be subject to the discip­lin­ary process for inten­tional, repeated or other­wise unjus­ti­fied fail­ure to activ­ate their WCS in viol­a­tion of the Divi­sion policy.”

Super­visors conduct random, adequate audits to ensure compli­ance. Sergeants audit 25% of officers assigned to them each month, lieu­ten­ants audit all sergeants and patrol officers under their command each year (25% per quarter) and captains audit all lieu­ten­ants, sergeants, and patrol officers under their command once per year. When they complete audits, the fill out Wear­able Camera System Cycle Reviews to commander each month and then the reviews are forwar­ded to the Inspec­tion Unit.

Yes, super­visors review all record­ings related to incid­ents with Level 2 use of force, complaints, injur­ies to officers and incid­ents result­ing in super­vis­ory invest­ig­a­tion. Can use record­ings to ensure officers are compli­ant and to invest­ig­ate viol­a­tions as appro­pri­ate.

Yes, reviews may not neces­sar­ily result in discip­line, but may be used as a train­ing oppor­tun­ity. Miscon­duct and repeated viol­a­tions are to the respect­ive Deputy Chief with conclu­sions and recom­mend­a­tions.

Officers can access their own record­ing for a legit­im­ate law enforce­ment purpose, includ­ing but not limited to comple­tion of reports. They must receive author­iz­a­tion from FIT OIC before view­ing use of force record­ings.

Dallas Yes, if the BWC fails to activ­ate, the officer will docu­ment the fail­ure in a MIR or offense supple­ment report.” Not specified Super­visors are respons­ible for ensur­ing BWCs are used in accord­ance with policy; process is not specified. Yes, expli­citly allowed to resolve complaints, as well as if an officer states the video may contain evid­ence or be useful for train­ing purposes. No limits specified on view­ing. Minor infrac­tions should be handled as a train­ing issue. Yes, officers are encour­aged to review video before writ­ing any incid­ent reports to ensure consist­ency.
Gener­ally no, but if a super­visor must invest­ig­ate incid­ent and there is no video, super­visors must docu­ment why. 1st viol­a­tion in 12-month period: oral reprim­and, journal entry, mandated officer review of BWC policy and follow up meet­ing with super­visor; 2nd viol­a­tion: writ­ten reprim­and, in-depth audit of officer’s data usage; 3rd viol­a­tion: 1 fined day Audits required of monthly usage, video stor­age, view­ing, and others as reques­ted; method not specified. Yes, for reports on use of force, injury while in custody or prior to arrest, and forced entry; to invest­ig­ate specific acts of officer conduct; if officer is on Perform­ance Improve­ment Plan; and for “commend­ing and coun­sel­ing officers.” Other­wise requires permis­sion of commander. No, reviews of BWC that show it was not activ­ated per policy can result in discip­lin­ary meas­ures.

Yes, for reports in general. After use of force incid­ent, permis­sion from Internal Affairs Divi­sion invest­ig­ator is required. After crit­ical incid­ents, such as a police shoot­ing or an in-custody injury result­ing in death, permis­sion from the commander of the Major Crimes Divi­sion is required. 

Ferguson Yes, officer must docu­ment the reason for termin­a­tion of the record­ing in an incid­ent report. Not specified

“Routine audits of record­ing devices shall be used for main­ten­ance and train­ing purposes only and not for discip­line, absent addi­tional corrob­or­at­ing evid­ence.” 

Yes, “a super­visor may review specific BWC media or data for the purpose of train­ing, perform­ance review, critique, early inter­ven­tion inquir­ies, civil claims, and admin­is­trat­ive inquiry.”

No exemp­tion, but self-repor­ted viol­a­tions will not be cause for discip­lin­ary action in the absence of a citizen complaint.  Yes, officers involved in use of force incid­ents or acci­dent caus­ing injur­ies will be allowed to review the video, but this is not a require­ment.
Jack­son­ville Yes, when an officer claims to have failed to record the command­ing officer confers with Internal Affairs to make sure the fail­ure isn’t asso­ci­ated with other viol­a­tions. If command­ing officer finds the fail­ure was not reas­on­ably excus­able, the BWC Activ­a­tion Fail­ure Step progress­ive actions are imple­men­ted.  Super­visors will take appro­pri­ate action in accord­ance with Code of Conduct Policy Order 501. In case of inex­cus­able fail­ure to record, BWC Activ­a­tion Fail­ure Steps are imple­men­ted instead of tradi­tional discip­lin­ary policy. The BWC System Admin­is­trator will randomly select BWC foot­age to be reviewed by the Officers’ super­visor monthly. The BWC System Admin­is­trator will conduct a random audit semi-annu­ally and gener­ate a report of the find­ings. Yes, to ensure compli­ance with policy and func­tion­al­ity of the BWCs. No, if any train­ing or writ­ten direct­ive issues are appar­ent, “they will be docu­mented and submit­ted to the Internal Affairs command­ing officer for further review.” Yes

Las Vegas


Yes, officer must docu­ment reason for fail­ure to activ­ate BWC.  Not specified The Body Camera Detail is respons­ible for ensur­ing that audits are conduc­ted, but method is not specified. No direct access to video once uploaded. Can review to resolve a citizen complaint on scene or in pres­ence of involved officer(s) “follow­ing the applic­a­tion of report­able force (except use of deadly force).” Can request video for internal invest­ig­a­tions or address­ing a docu­mented perform­ance issue. No exemp­tion, but Internal Affairs can only access record­ings pursu­ant to an offi­cial complaint, so no one can view to look for policy viol­a­tions. Yes, officers are encour­aged to review the video prior to making report to help ensure consist­ency.
Los Angeles Yes, officer must specify reason in comments field of incid­ent report forms. Unau­thor­ized use or release of foot­age and copy­ing, eras­ing, or modi­fy­ing record­ings is seri­ous miscon­duct subject to discip­lin­ary actions. No regu­lar random review. The Audit Divi­sion can decide to conduct an audit or inspec­tion. Yes, super­visors are required to review relev­ant record­ings before submit­ting any admin­is­trat­ive reports. In Use of Force incid­ents, super­visors are required to take posses­sion of the camera, but not view without invest­ig­ator author­iz­a­tion. No Officers are required to view record­ings before making reports or state­ments. When there is a Use of Force, officer may not view foot­age until author­ized by invest­ig­ator, but shall review it before being inter­viewed.

Mesa, AZ

Yes, “officers will docu­ment the reas­ons for any non-activ­a­tions or inter­rup­tions in record­ings prior to the comple­tion of an event in CAD or RMS.”

Not specified

Eval­u­ation done at end of year-long pilot.

*sec­tion that mandated that super­visors conduct random reviews of record­ings has been deleted and is under review
Not specified  Not specified Yes, officers can view video to assist in making state­ments and reports. Officers involved in incid­ents involving seri­ous injury must get approval from Homicide Unit Sergeant and officers involved in shoot­ings must have permis­sion from Chief of Police.



Yes, officer shall docu­ment the reason in the report or supple­ment. If a report is not going to be prepared the reas­ons for fail­ure to activ­ate shall be docu­mented in CAD. “Employ­ees fail­ing to adhere to this policy or applic­able laws…are subject to discip­line, up to and includ­ing termin­a­tion.”

Super­visors shall review video peri­od­ic­ally to ensure proper proced­ures are being followed. Minnesota law requires a published bien­nial audit of how data is clas­si­fied, used, and destroyed. 

Yes, peri­od­ic­ally to ensure proced­ures are followed, when conduct­ing force reviews, or while carry­ing out other job duties.

No Yes, an officer “should” watch video before making a report or state­ment. After an incid­ent involving deadly force, video “shall not be accessed unless approved by the assigned invest­ig­at­ing agency.”
New Orleans Must docu­ment on BWC the reason for early termin­a­tion of record­ing prior to deac­tiv­a­tion of the BWC.  Not specified Random review by super­visors for proper use and categor­iz­a­tion. Yes, for “train­ing, perform­ance review, critique, early inter­ven­tion inquir­ies, civil claims, admin­is­trat­ive inquiry, or other artic­ul­able reason.” Yes, if super­visors determ­ine misuse/non-use of BWC was unin­ten­tional and not asso­ci­ated with other viol­a­tions, alleged use of force, public complaints or alleged crim­inal acts, the officer is eligible for non-discip­lin­ary coun­sel­ing. Officers entitled to 3 docu­mented coun­sel­ing instances in a 1-year period and 1 addi­tional instance if it is self-repor­ted.  Yes

New York

Yes, officers must report fail­ure to the Patrol/Unit Super­visor and make an activ­ity log entry. Not specified in policy; however, accom­pa­ny­ing fact sheet says “officers will face discip­line for fail­ure to follow the patrol guide and for consist­ent and unjus­ti­fied fail­ure to record.” Super­visors, integ­rity control officers and train­ing sergeants must peri­od­ic­ally review BWC video as appro­pri­ate, for feed­back and to address any observed defi­cien­cies in perform­ance. Yes Yes Yes. In addi­tion, after a Level 3 use of force an officer may view related record­ings before giving a state­ment but must do so at a time and place set by the Force Invest­ig­a­tion Divi­sion Super­visor.
Oakland, CA Yes, officers must docu­ment and explain any delayed or miss­ing record­ing. Not specified Random review by super­visors. Audit­ors may view to invest­ig­ate miscon­duct or eval­u­ate perform­ance. Yes, permit­ted in general and required to do random reviews and to invest­ig­ate use of force. Super­visors will assess officer perform­ance and train­ing needs, policy compli­ance and consist­ency between writ­ten reports and video files. Super­visors also should determ­ine if non-activ­a­tion was reas­on­able. No, but super­visors have discre­tion to use non-discip­lin­ary correc­tion for minor miscon­duct; viol­a­tion must be docu­mented. Yes, for reports. In Level 1 use of force cases or when being invest­ig­ated for a crim­inal or admin­is­trat­ive offense, officers must be inter­viewed before view­ing.
Orlando Yes, officer must notify super­visor and docu­ment reason in memo or email. Not specified Not specified YYes, for critique, train­ing, early inter­ven­tion inquir­ies, civil claims, admin­is­trat­ive inquir­ies, address­ing beha­vi­oral or perform­ance defi­cien­cies, or docu­ment­ing exem­plary perform­ance. Must view in certain instances such as citizen complaints, injur­ies, and vehicle pursuits. No exemp­tion, but super­visors should not view just to search for viol­a­tions of depart­ment policy Yes, officers shall review “before writ­ing reports involving the response to resist­ance, crit­ical incid­ents, confes­sions or admis­sions” and are encour­aged to review for all reports. Officers must note review of video in report. Not specified if an officer can view own video before being inter­viewed after use of force.
Phil­adelphia Yes, officers will docu­ment reason why incid­ent was not recor­ded in a 75–48.  Not specified

“Super­visors shall conduct peri­odic, random inspec­tions of BWC equip­ment to confirm that it is in proper work­ing order.”

Yes, “super­visors may, upon good cause and with prior author­iz­a­tion from the command­ing officer, review the digital record­ings of specific officers to monitor their beha­vior.”

 Minor discip­lin­ary code viol­a­tions captured on BWCs will not result in offi­cial Internal Affairs invest­ig­a­tions or 75–18s but “may result in command level discip­line, train­ing, and/or coun­sel­ing consist­ent with Direct­ive 8.06.”

Yes, but after view­ing video, officers must record the follow­ing state­ment on all police reports writ­ten there­after: “The contents of this docu­ment are based on my obser­va­tions of the incid­ent and a review of the record­ings captured by a mobile video record­ing system.”

Phoenix, AZ

Not specified Not specified

Each week, super­visors will inspect at least one video for each user in their squad and record their find­ings. The Precinct Inspec­tions Lieu­ten­ant will randomly inspect one video from each parti­cip­at­ing squad every month. 

Yes, with no limit­a­tions specified. Depart­ment can also review “video at any time to ensure compli­ance with policy, to invest­ig­ate person­nel complaints, for train­ing purposes, etc.” Not specified Yes, for reports. After a seri­ous incid­ent (shoot­ing, seri­ous injury or death, use of force incid­ent etc.), officers cannot view video until invest­ig­ator arrives and it can be done in conjunc­tion with seri­ous incid­ent proto­cols (which does not mention body camera video but does require separ­a­tion of involved employ­ees to prevent discus­sion).
Rialto, CA Not specified Not specified System Admin­is­trator over­sees eval­u­ation; process is not specified. Only as direc­ted by the Chief of Police. No review­ing to search for viol­a­tions of depart­ment policy not related to a specific complaint or incid­ent. No, but super­visors cannot review record­ings for the sole purpose of search­ing for viol­a­tions of depart­ment policy or law. Yes
San Anto­nio Yes Super­visors will take correct­ive action for any proced­ural viol­a­tion observed and docu­ment the find­ings on the proper form. Super­visors will conduct reviews of record­ings on a quarterly basis to ensure proper usage of BWC equip­ment and compli­ance to policy. Yes, super­visors may view the video of any of their subor­din­ates in the field at any time during their shift. No, discip­lin­ary action will be addressed by super­visors in accord­ance with GM Proc. 303, Discip­lin­ary Proced­ures. Yes, officer must docu­ment name, badge number and purpose for view­ing foot­age.
San Bern­ardino Not specified Not specified Not specified Yes No, but videos cannot be reviewed for sole purpose of discov­er­ing policy viol­a­tions. Yes
San Diego Yes, “Officers will always docu­ment why the BWC was inten­tion­ally deac­tiv­ated during an enforce­ment contact.” Not specified Super­visors conduct monthly inspec­tions, includ­ing check­ing videos against reports for two random dates per month. Super­visor reports are reviewed by Lieu­ten­ants and Captains. Yes, to resolve complaints, when there was a use of force, or for other invest­ig­a­tions and listed admin­is­trat­ive purposes. No, but record­ings cannot be reviewed for general perform­ance reviews or to discover policy viol­a­tions.  Yes, officers should view videos since digital evid­ence can help officer recall more facts and details about the incid­ent. Report should note any discrep­an­cies between officer’s memory and the video.
San Fran­cisco


Not specified Not specified Yes, but super­visors may not review an officer’s BWC foot­age to search for viol­a­tions of policy without cause. No  Gener­ally yes, but follow­ing officer-involved shoot­ings, in-custody deaths and crim­inal matters, officers are required to provide initial state­ments before review­ing foot­age. 

San Jose

Yes, officers must docu­ment the reason in BWC record­ing and in the subsequent police report. Not specified Super­visors are respons­ible for compli­ance. Yes, for specific complaints or to ensure that the equip­ment is func­tion­ing and officers are follow­ing policy.  Cannot review videos to look for policy viol­a­tions. Super­visors may resolve minor viol­a­tions with train­ing or informal coun­sel­ing. Yes, for reports. After an officer-involved incid­ent, an officer must give a state­ment before view­ing foot­age.


Yes, officers will state reason on record­ing and docu­ment the reason in a report and/or CAD update. No discip­line for record­ing or not record­ing portions of events. Videos can be viewed for audit­ing, but details are not specified. Yes, super­visors can view videos for reas­ons such as complaints, crim­inal invest­ig­a­tion, officer-involved colli­sion, train­ing purposes, perform­ance appraisal, audit and qual­ity control among others. Yes, but minor miscon­duct may result in train­ing refer­rals or career coun­sel­ing. Yes, officers may review their own recor­ded video except in instances of FIT invest­ig­a­tions. Refer to FIT manual for instruc­tions on when officers may view videos. 
Tampa Yes, reason will be docu­mented on the video and in the report. Fail­ure to record, store record­ings, or misuse of the system “may result in discip­lin­ary action.” In addi­tion, “[i]nten­tion­ally turn­ing off the system in anti­cip­a­tion of a use of force incid­ent or other confront­a­tional citizen contact is abso­lutely forbid­den, and will result in discip­line up to and includ­ing termin­a­tion." Profes­sional Stand­ards Qual­ity Assur­ance will conduct peri­odic checks on recor­ded video. Also, at least twice a month, super­visors will perform random reviews of all video and BWC record­ing systems assigned to their squads. Yes, if a recor­ded event may be of value for train­ing purposes and to ensure video processes and proced­ures are being followed.  Not specified Yes, video “should” be reviewed before writ­ing reports. Not specified for state­ments.


Officers must verbally docu­ment reason for deac­tiv­at­ing BWC. Also, if officers mute audio record­ings, they must docu­ment reas­on­ing verbally and in their writ­ten reports. Does not specify proced­ures for fail­ure to record.   Not specified

Super­visors shall conduct peri­odic inspec­tions to ensure compli­ance and proper oper­a­tion of equip­ment. They will also view random sampling of videos to ensure BWC record­ing require­ments are being met.

Super­visors will review all videos of use of force incid­ents, citizen complaints, internal invest­ig­a­tions, and admin­is­trat­ive invest­ig­a­tions. They may also view videos to assist in conduct­ing perform­ance reviews. Not specified Yes, officers can view videos to assist with an invest­ig­a­tion, complete reports, or prepare for hear­ings, depos­itions, and trial. Officers involved in crit­ical incid­ents, such as police shoot­ings, in-custody deaths etc., shall not view video without author­iz­a­tion by an invest­ig­at­ive super­visor.
Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Yes Not specified BWC Unit Coordin­at­ors will do peri­odic reviews to make sure officers are record­ing mandat­ory events. DC law requires audits of compli­ance, privacy protec­tion, secur­ity, and the impact of the program on reports, complaints, and uses of force. Officers must tag videos for super­vis­ory review if: an officer is injured; there is a use of force; an officer records or arrests a person as a result of First Amend­ment activ­ity; an incid­ent results in a fatal­ity; or the event may result in a complaint or be of use in a future court proceed­ing. Super­visors must view these within 24 hours. When view­ing record­ings officers shall notify offi­cials if they see a policy viol­a­tion. However, no random review is allowed for purpose of find­ing policy viol­a­tions. Yes, for reports or when under a crim­inal or admin­is­trat­ive invest­ig­a­tion. In a crim­inal invest­ig­a­tion or after a seri­ous use of force, officer must have a letter declin­ing to prosec­ute from the prosec­ut­ing author­ity and must view the record­ing via the Internal Affairs Divi­sion.
ACLU Model Stat­ute Not specified For fail­ure to record or inter­fer­ence with video: discip­line against the officer and evid­en­tiary presump­tion in favor of crim­inal defend­ant or civil plaintiffs suing based on police miscon­duct. Not specified Super­ior officer prohib­ited from view­ing foot­age not marked for minimum 3-year reten­tion absent a specific alleg­a­tion of miscon­duct. Not specified Review of video prohib­ited before complet­ing initial reports, state­ments, and inter­views.
Inter­na­tional Asso­ci­ation of Chiefs of Police  Yes Not specified Random review by super­visors. Yes, randomly review at least monthly to ensure officers are using devices correctly. Not specified Yes for reports in general. If an officer is suspec­ted of wrong­do­ing or involved in a use of force, the depart­ment can limit or restrict view­ing.

Police Exec­ut­ive Research Forum  

Yes Not specified Random review by audit­ors. Only when invest­ig­at­ing specific complaints or patterns of miscon­duct, during an officer’s proba­tion­ary period, or to identify train­ing videos. Not specified Yes