Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has worked with the Rochester Police Department (RPD) to make improvement of police-community relations a top priority. Moving forward towards this goal, the RPD Body-Worn Camera (BWC) initiative is key.
There is broad-based community support for this initiative, as evidenced by a Telephone Town Hall poll, a City Council survey, and statements of support from various community organizations.
The City has taken significant steps to plan for a BWC program, including extensive research on equipment, data management, policies, and community involvement.
The City's Goals Are:
- Deploy BWCs to officers who regularly interact with the public in enforcement capacities.
- Improve high quality public service; and promote the perceived legitimacy, sense of fairness, and procedural justice the community has about RPD.
- Improve management of digital multi-media evidence (DME), to ensure identification, retention, accessibility of DME that is relevant to enforcement activities, and the conduct of RPD officers.
- Incorporate the BWC program into RPD's policy and training development.
- Implement strong policies to ensure proper and credible use of BWCs.
- Establish a continuing BWC program that remains technologically current and financially sustainable.
The RPD has entered partnerships to ensure success. This includes critical departments within the City representing information technology, budget, and law. It also includes external partnerships with the District Attorney's Office, Public Defender, and Civilian Review Board. Most significantly, it includes a strong partnership with the community, as represented by a variety of community and neighborhood organizations, as well as community input meetings focused on the gathering and sharing of information.
- Budget restrictions (cost to purchase/cost to maintain/labor cost).
- Legal restrictions (privacy concerns/evidentiary nature of data/labor relations).
- Equipment restrictions (fixed lens/distortion/battery life/data storage).
The Rochester Police Department’s Body Worn Camera (BWC) Project Team completed a Request for Proposal process to select a vendor to provide BWCs for the City of Rochester. On January 19, 2016 City Council authorized the City to enter into an agreement with this vendor. This began the implementation phase of the project. The BWC team will regularly post project updates HERE. Please check back regularly for updates, and make use of the links on this page for additional information and to provide and additional INPUT that you may have.
Rochester Police Department Body-Worn Camera Manual Updates
Over the last several months the Rochester Police Department (RPD) has been working on a policy that directs the use of body-worn cameras by its members. During this time the Rochester Police Department gave the community a chance to view and comment on the draft manual.
In June 2016 RPD finished a Body-Worn Camera Manual that was used for training and implementation of the BWC program. Based on comments and suggestions by RPD personnel, community organizations, and other stakeholders, some changes were made from the original draft manual. This manual continued to be reviewed as we moved towards implementation of the Body-Worn Camera Program, and a third version was published in October 2016. There may be future changes dependent on what we learn as a Department and a Community as we move towards equipping police officers with body-worn cameras.
All three versions of the BWC Manual can be viewed below.
Questions and comments may be submitted by clicking here.
Current BWC Manual - October 2016
Click here to view the most current version of the BWC Manual that governs the current use of BWCs. (Note: Sections within this Body-Worn Camera Manual marked “Reserved” are part of Union Negotiations with the Rochester Police Locust Club. Appendix B & C are still being developed as part of our training curriculum.)
BWC Manual - June 2016
Click here to view the Body-Worn Camera Manual that will be used for training and implementation of this program. (Note: Sections within this Body-Worn Camera Manual marked “Reserved” are part of Union Negotiations with the Rochester Police Locust Club. Appendix B & C are still being developed as part of our training curriculum.)
Click here for Frequently Asked Questions regarding the RPD BWC draft manual.
- January 2014: RPD began to research the possibility of using Body Worn Cameras to understand program costs and best practices.
- December 2014: Mayor Warren, Chief Ciminelli and Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo held a press conference to announce the RPD will implement a BWC Program.
- April 2015 - June 2015: The Rochester City Council conducted a survey via Survey Monkey seeking public opinion regarding RPD officers being outfitted with body cameras. Results of the survey can be found here.
- June 2015:
- July 2015: The City issued a Request For Proposals (RFP), asking vendors to provide detailed options for providing body worn cameras, as well as data storage and management solutions.
- August 2015: Vendor selection began, with the careful evaluation of all submitted vendor proposals. Four vendors were selected to demonstrate their products, as well as provide further information in support of the City’s goals.
- September 2015: Limited field testing of cameras and data management began. View the Standard Operating Procedure for the Testing and Evaluation of the Body Worn Camera Technology.
- September 2015: RPD is awarded a $600,000 federal grant to fund the program.
- November 2015 - December 2015: City held five public meetings – one in each Police Section – to gain community input. For more information and to view topics discussed at these Community Input Sessions, click here.
- January 2016: Rochester City Council approved the selection of MES Lawmen Supply Company as the BWC vendor.
- February 2016: City and MES Lawmen agreed to terms and signed a contract. Planning between RPD and MES Lawmen commenced with several meetings identifying tasks to be completed for successful implementation of the BWC Program.
- January 2016 - March 2016: RPD is working with its partners, to include the Rochester Police Locust Club, in developing a policy for the use of the Body Worn Cameras. View Model Policy information.
- January 2016 - July 2016: RPD will be working with the vendor to build the infrastructure necessary for successful storage and management of the digital evidence collected from the Body Worn Cameras.
- April 2016: RPD released a draft of the Body-Worn Camera Policy. (Note: Sections marked “Reserved” are part of Union Negotiations with the Rochester Police Locust Club. Appendix B is still being developed as part of the training curriculum). View Draft RPD BWC Draft Manual.
- July 2016 - February 2017: Cameras will be deployed incrementally to assure all systems work properly as we work towards full deployment. Each member that will be issued a BWC will receive training. Once the training is completed, the member will begin using the BWC during their next scheduled tour of duty in accordance with the BWC Manual. View the Training and Implementation Schedule.
- Click here for more project updates.
- Media Release dated November 17, 2016.
If you have questions or concerns about this project, please click here.