XAVIER POLICE BODY WORN CAMERAs FAQ
What are BWCs?
The Xavier Police Department uses the Safety Vision Prima Fascia camera. This is a device used to provide video and audio documentation of a police officer’s enforcement and investigative activities.
Why are officers wearing BWCs?
- Reduce citizen complaints;
- Decreases use of force;
- Supplement supervisory oversight;
- Improve the quality of evidence gathered;
- Enhance public trust;
Are the BWCs recording all the time?
No. The officer must activate the camera to start recording. The cameras will only record law enforcement related contacts. General contacts and non-law enforcement related will not be recorded.
How will citizens know that they are being recorded?
The camera has a LED indicator on the on the front of the unit. When the light is blinking red, the camera is recording. A green LED means the unit is on, but not recording.
Where are video files stored?
The videos are stored on a secure server hosted by Xavier University.
Can the public view BWC video files?
Videos that meet the definitions of public records under Ohio Law may be viewed. A public records request may be made at the Xavier Police Department during normal business hours.
Are there places the officers cannot use BWCs?
Yes, locker rooms, dressing rooms, inside residence halls, or restrooms unless a criminal offense has occurred in these areas. Officers should take precautions to protect the dignity of the victim and avoid recording videos of nude or exposed persons.
Can the officers modify or tamper with BWC records?
No, the video cannot be edited by the storage software. Officers are prohibited by policy from altering, destroying or tampering with the video. The storage software logs all accesses to the video and when a person logs in to the software.
What about a person’s right to privacy?
The Xavier Police Department will make every effort to ensure privacy rights are met to the extent possible. Xavier Police officers have discretion in this area including:
- Situations where the respect for an individual’s privacy or dignity outweighs the need to record an event (e.g., a victim traumatized following a violent assault).
- Where an officer believes such circumstances exist, or that use of a BWC would impede or limit the cooperation of a victim or witness during an investigative contact, an officer may deactivate the BWC after receiving authorization from a supervisor.
- When the supervisor deems the activation of a camera is not necessary or the video would have no real value.
Can officers refuse to use or activate BWCs?
If an officer does not activate the BWC, the officer must document why the BWC was not activated.
What if graphic or sensitive footage is recorded by the BWC? Will that be released upon request?
Videos that meet the definitions of public records under Ohio Law may be viewed.