Why are Bozeman Police Officers wearing cameras?

    Body worn camera technology has developed to the point where it is becoming an industry standard. Police departments nationwide are adopting the BWCs for their departments. Some of the proven benefits of wearing BWCs are:

    • Greater transparency
    • Promoting accountability and public trust
    • Improve officer training and evaluation
    • Evidence collection
    • Deterring criminal activity and uncooperative behavior
    • Assisting officers with completing reports and providing testimony in court

    What body worn camera system will the Bozeman Police Department be using?

    The department will be using Getac’s body-worn camera system to capture video as well as their cloud-based Mobile Edge Platform, allowing video to be automatically offloaded and securely stored. To learn more about the camera and Mobile Edge, please visit their website at www.getac video.com.

    When will officers be recording with their body worn cameras?

    Police officers will activate their body worn cameras whenever they respond to calls for service or have public contacts initiated pursuant to a law enforcement investigation or investigation of possible criminal activity. The use of BWC is guided by department policy.

    Will officers be recording casual conversations with people?

    No, officers will not be recording informal encounters with citizens in the community.

    How do I know if I am being captured on video?

    The camera worn by officers will be clearly visible. If the officer is taking law enforcement action and is wearing a video camera, you can assume he/she has activated the video. You may also ask the officer if his/her video is activated.

    Are there places where officers cannot use their body worn cameras?

    Typically, officers will not record video in places where there is an expectation of privacy, such as restrooms, locker rooms, and medical patient care areas — unless there is reasonable suspicion a crime is being committed or the recording of the location is material to an investigation.

    What happens to a video once it is recorded?

    Video captured by in car cameras or  body worn cameras is uploaded to a cloud-based service where it is categorized with the specific call for service. All video will be saved for a minimum of six months and placed on set retention schedules depending on the type of data collected.

    Can body worn cameras be used as evidence?

    Body worn camera evidence has an impact on verdicts in court proceedings all over the United States. Prosecutors and Defendants alike have used BWC footage to help clarify facts in cases, and it has the potential of becoming a valuable evidentiary tool for officers.

    Do the body worn cameras work with the video camera system in the patrol cars?

    Yes, the two systems work together.    The body worn camera is synced to the vehicle the officer is using.  This allows the body worn camera to be activated when the vehicle system is activated, for example by way of emergency lights being activated.   It also allows the system to categorize and store the videos together, allowing for quicker retrieval and better organization. 

    Will officers still be using other devices to record audio and/or video?

    Yes.   The body worn camera and integrated patrol car video systems will be the primary recording equipment for patrol officers.    However, as the situation and assignment dictates, officers may still use digital pocket recorders, cell phones, and other devices to record audio and/or video.  

    How will body worn cameras be used in schools?

    An important aspect to consider during the implementation of body worn cameras is how they will be utilized in schools. Check out our post to learn more about how they will be used in schools across the city.