SPPD Releases First Quarter 2018 Body Worn Camera Report

Saint Paul police officers are doing well acclimating to and using body worn cameras, according to a report published online by the Saint Paul Police Department on Tuesday, June 19. 

The report was compiled by the department’s Body Worn Camera Review Committee and focused on quality control, challenges associated with using the new technology and overall compliance with the department’s Body Worn Camera Policy over the first quarter of 2018. 

After a pilot program and training period, all officers began wearing body cameras in January.

During the first three months the program was fully implemented, 87,544 videos were recorded. 

In an effort to ensure that the cameras were being used properly, the department established a quality control process, which includes:

  • a Quality Control Process Policy, which describes two types of quality control reviews that the department will do on a quarterly basis, 
  • a sergeant in the Technology Unit dedicated to monitoring compliance with the department’s Body Worn Camera Policy, proper classification of videos and assignments of case numbers to videos, 
  • a Body Worn Camera Review Committee responsible for reviewing 24 randomly selected videos each month to ensure compliance with the Body Worn Camera Policy; identifying trends, training issues and concerns based on reviews; and forwarding findings to supervisors, and
  • a requirement that video from all incidents involving use of force be reviewed by supervisors. 

After the first three months during which all officers were wearing body cameras, the members of the Body Worn Camera Review Committee and the sergeant in charge of the Body Worn Camera Program compiled a report detailing their work. 

The following is a summary of report’s key findings:

The Body Worn Camera Review Committee reviewed 72 videos involving general officer contacts, arrests, evidence collection, response to resistance and aggression and traffic stops:

  • 71 videos were properly categorized
  • 69 videos had a 30-second buffer before being activated (or a proper exception)
  • 68 videos had the correct case number assigned to them

The department addressed issues identified through roll call and in-service training. 

In addition to the videos reviewed by the Body Worn Camera Review Committee, the Technology Unit sergeant conducted compliance checks on videos from traffic stops and burglaries to make sure mandatory videos exist. 

In all, 583 traffic stop videos were reviewed to make sure they exist:

  • 99.37 percent of the time, videos were recorded in compliance with policy
  • nine videos were not properly categorized 
  • seven videos existed with a mismatching case number

Officers activated cameras 100 percent of the time in the 71 burglary videos reviewed. 

Besides videos reviewed through the department’s Quality Control Process, another 2,477 videos were reviewed by supervisors and investigators as part of their day-to-day duties. 

Police Chief Todd Axtell says that although introducing new technology is challenging, the report shows that officers are adapting well to using body worn cameras—and there is still work to do. 

“Overall, I’m pleased with the way we have implemented our Body Worn Camera Program and how committed our officers are to using the technology to build trust,” he said. “But we also hold ourselves to the highest standards and know that there is always room for improvement.”  

During the second quarter of the year, the Body Worn Camera Review Committee and the Technology Unit added additional quality control checks, including:

  • reviewing all videos for motor vehicle, pedestrian and bike crashes, 
  • reviewing all videos involving canine officer calls or investigations, and 
  • ensuring that video exists from all officers at scenes where force is used.

These additional checks are in addition to those done through the Quality Control Process through the first quarter of the year. They will further supplement the work of the Response to Resistance and Aggression Committee, which already reviews videos that exist for compliance with the Response to Resistance and Aggression Policy as well as weekly reviews of randomly selected body worn camera videos recorded by canine officers. 

 

The complete report can be found on the Saint Paul Police Department website. First Quarter 2018 Body Worn Camera Report