Police seeking public input for body camera policy

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In January 2018, both the Rapid City Police Department and Pennington County Sheriff's Office will launch a pilot program to provide a small number of officers and deputies with body cameras.

Two different cameras will be tested during the three-month pilot program. Both agencies intend to have their patrol units equipped by the summer with the help of a $300,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant. The RCPD and PCSO have each contributed $150,000.

But before that, the agencies are seeking the public's help in drafting a body camera policy.

The cameras will allow the department to gather more evidence while on patrol. They also enable the department to be more transparent.

“Body-worn cameras are an emerging technology in the world of law enforcement,” says Jennie Clabo, coordinator of the RCPD/PCSO body-worn camera implementation project. “We understand the public may want the chance to have some input as we work to implement this program. This is why we are offering members of the community the chance to review the drafted policy.”

As part of the policy, law enforcement will activate the camera during typical activities like traffic stops and arrests. But they are not required to notify the public when they are recording.

The draft policy has been reviewed by several outside groups, including the Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Pennington County Public Defender’s Office, and the RCPD’s citizen-based Community Advisory Committee.

Click here to view the body camera policy and submit comments. Public input is accepted through Dec. 15. Click here for more details on the pilot program.

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