Report Recommendation 3.2
Pillar 3: Technology and Social Media
|3.2 Report Recommendation: The implementation of appropriate technology by law enforcement agencies should be designed considering local needs and aligned with national standards.|
The BRPD Department is committed to efficient and effective policing, including the use of the technology that is designed to meet the unique needs of the Baton Rouge community.
The BRPD is committed to the belief that Body-Worn Camera (BWC) video recordings are an important and valuable tool for law enforcement. BRPD’s policy and use of Body Worn Cameras are intended to promote officer safety, strengthen police accountability, enhance operational transparency, provide for more effective prosecution, and improve protection against false allegations of excessive use of force, misconduct, or racial profiling while protecting civil liberties and privacy interests.
- For example, a BWC video is used during Internal Affairs investigations, whereby BRPD conducts a six-month audit of the BWC video of the officer being investigated.
- BRPD’s Department-wide BWC program https://www.brpdbodycam.com/, which began in August 2017, was developed through input from officers across the Department, as well as collaboration with various community stakeholders, including elected officials, city/parish law enforcement, local advocacy groups, academic researchers, and members of the faith-based community. BRPD’s BWC policy is grounded in best practice recommendations put forth by national experts, including, but not limited to, publications from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
- BWC policies from other law enforcement agencies were examined prior to the development of the BRPD’s current BWC policy, and the agency’s current standards even exceed the standards outlined by the Department of Justice. The agency regularly evaluates and revises its BWC policy based on new research and best practice recommendations.
- BRPD’s BWC policy https://www.brpdbodycam.com/ requires every sworn officer employed by the Department to be assigned and trained in the proper operation of the BWC and related equipment. BWCs are used to document events, capture Digital Media Evidence (DME), and evaluate officer performance. BRPD Officers wear the BWC on the outside of their uniform, facing forward in such a manner to maximize the video capture angle and to prevent, to the extent possible, blockage of the camera by the uniform or equipment. When safe to activate, BWCs are utilized to record the following types of events:
- Traffic stops
- Person and vehicle searches
- Physical or verbal confrontations
- All Calls for Service, including backup Officers
- Any contact that becomes adversarial when the BWC had not previously been activated
- Prisoner transport
- Any other citizen contact or official duty circumstance is at the officer’s discretion.
- While an officer’s holster, taser, lights, and gun are manually activated, BRPD is implementing new technology, which automatically activates BWCs.
- The BRPD recognizes that video from Body Worn Cameras and In-Car Cameras provides an incomplete but essential view of critical incidents involving officers and the citizens they serve. However, the videos also provide the public with a better understanding of police work. Releasing body camera and in-car camera video evidence in a timely manner enhances public trust in police officers, while postponements in releasing critical incident video evidence can negatively impact community-police relations.
- With a focus on public accountability and transparency, in April 2019, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul announced the BRPD would implement a Critical Incident Video Release Policy Critical-Incident-Video-Release-PDF Under the new policy, the Chief of Police is required to make a decision within 12 days of the incident in question.
- If the Chief decides the release of the video will not interfere with the integrity of the investigation and/or the prosecution, the BRPD releases critical incident video evidence as soon as possible. The grace period between the incident date and video release is meant to ensure that witnesses will not be endangered and that prosecutions will not be undermined.
- The 2019 policy breaks from the agency's previous practice of withholding all such videos until the completion of the investigation and any possible prosecution — a process that often took more than a year to conclude.
- The policy applies to critical incidents, which are defined as incidents where an officer uses force that results in hospitalization or death, or if the officer intentionally shoots a gun at a person or strikes a person in the head with an impact of a weapon, and when a police vehicle pursuit results in the hospitalization or death of a person, or a detained subject dies in custody.
BRPD is using technology to prevent and solve crimes. Geographic Information System (GIS) software allows the Department to produce and analyze crime statistics and create maps organized by designated areas for reported crimes. These GIS dashboards allow commanders to view what’s going on in their areas, develop and implement strategies to proactively prevent incidents, and then evaluate whether the strategies they’re implementing are working -- or require adjustments. Our commanders use these dashboards to direct patrols, as well as during large scale operations
- Housed at BRPD Headquarters, the Real-Time Crime Center (RTCC) is a 21st-century Law Enforcement approach designed to leverage existing assets in real-time to improve public safety.
- The mission of the RTCC is to utilize staff, technology, and investigative tools to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of law enforcement services throughout the Greater Baton Rouge area. The goal is a to:
- apply state-of-the-art, data-driven analytics, which generates precision enforcement strategies, decreases crime, and reduces the fear of crime;
- grow public trust by increasing community participation.
- The RTCC provides frontline and investigative personnel immediate access to advanced technology, information systems, and analytics. Specifically, trained personnel monitor live video feeds which assist with responding to in-progress crimes and documenting the ongoing suspicious activity.
- This real-time, actionable intelligence helps to reduce response time to crimes in progress while enhancing officer and community safety through situational awareness
Through BRPD’s Connect Blue program, community partners may share or register their cameras with the RTCC. Connect Blue was created with significant input and leadership from the neighborhood and civic leaders and is providing law enforcement with opportunities to prevent and solve crime. In fact, the Sherwood Forest Neighborhood Association, the biggest neighborhood organization in the Baton Rouge area, played a key role in leading this effort to ensure effective and feasible options were available for neighborhoods and residents.
BRPD is using social media not only to communicate with the local community but to monitor and analyze criminal activity through its Real-Time Crime Center. General-Order-140-Social-Media
With the aim of increasing efficiency within the Department and offering citizens more convenience, the BRPD has created and implemented its Telephone Reporting Unit (TRU). Through the use of BRPD’s non-emergency number, 225-389-2000, citizens can use the TRU to make reports and calls about non-violent, non-emergency situations.
- The TRU allows BRPD to respond to calls that do not require an officer on the scene. Some of the situations handled by the TRU include:
- identity theft with no physical evidence to collect.
- theft from a vehicle, excluding theft of a firearm, where there is no recoverable evidence at the scene.
- non-domestic civil matters.
- obscene phone calls.
- auto theft where there is no recoverable evidence.
- vandalism and damage to property, where there is no perpetrator present.
- theft, misdemeanor, or felony, excluding theft of firearms, where there is no recoverable evidence at the scene.
- BRPD has also published a "QR" code, a two-dimensional bar code, on its website, social media pages, and on public transit vehicles so that citizens can scan the QR code with their smartphones to have a face-to-face conversation with a police officer in the TRU.
BRPD uses technology to provide appropriate aids and services whenever necessary to ensure effective communication with persons who are deaf, have difficulty hearing, and/or for whom English is a second language.
As an accredited member of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), BRPD’s Social Media, Public Information, Surveillance Camera, In-Car Audio/Video/Body Worn Camera, and License Plate Recognition Systems are aligned with the standards set by the Commission. CALEA Accreditation program seals are reserved for use by those public safety agencies that have demonstrated compliance with CALEA Standards and have been awarded CALEA Accreditation by the Commission.
BRPD Police Chief shares updates on operations and initiatives with members of the Chief’s Advisory Council, whose members represent a cross-section of grassroots groups and local organizations. During these quarterly meetings, Council Members provide crucial feedback to help guide BRPD policies and operations, including the use of technology.
Beyond the Chief’s Advisory Council, BRPD is consistently seeking feedback from community members through stakeholder meetings. During these interactions, local faith-based leaders, business leaders, non-profit organizations, elected officials, parents, students, and local educators, partner law enforcement agencies, criminal justice groups, and others engage in question-and-answer sessions with BRPD leadership.
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