Pasadena Police to Set New Policy Regarding Release of Body Worn Camera Footage

Published : Wednesday, July 18, 2018 | 5:50 AM

The Pasadena Police Department is planning to introduce a new protocol within two months governing the release of officers’ body-cam footage following incidents of public concern.

The issue has come up as part of a “Change of Command Review” initiated by Interim Chief of Police John Perez when he took the helm at the department in April.

As part of a larger effort to review and improve communication with the community and public outreach, Chief Perez has requested a new protocol regarding when and how body-worn camera footage will be released to the public.

“The Chief is looking along the same lines of something what LAPD is doing, where 45 days after a critical incident, a video will be released for review to the general public,” Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said. “We’re exploring that possibility, and/or what other best practices that we could be doing.”

The guidelines are expected by September, barring unforeseen circumstances, he said.

In the meantime, the Chief’s Community Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet next month to discuss the protocol.

In addition, “The department will be focusing our community effort to educate the public on policing issues through a series of interactive sessions with the local media referred to as ‘Policing 101,’” according to the Chief’s Monthly Report.

The Chief’s Community Advisory Committee includes Senior Associate for the Office for Creative Connections and Peace and Justice at All Saints Church Juliana Serrano and local civil rights attorney Skip Hickambottom.

Both agreed that, in general, the sooner police videos can be released, the better.

“It’s essential for our local law enforcement agency, as well as any other in the nation, to release the video footages as soon as possible in order to build community trust and respect,” Serrano said.

“I understand well that there are limitations to the release of footage,” she said. “When something is currently being investigated and it’s still underway, it’s challenging for a police department to immediately release those videos. That’s fair. I understand that. But my point is that they need to as soon as they possibly can.”

Hickambottom also said the prompt release of footage is vital to maintaining public trust.

“I’ve always advocated that the videotapes critical incidents should not be left to the discretion of the Chief when it comes to the releasing of them, and that they should be released as soon as possible,” he said.

“We don’t want to interfere with the investigation or in any way interfere with the police officers rights. But once those safeguards are in place, the tapes should be released as soon as possible,” according to Hickambottom.

“I look forward to working with the police department any way I can so that we get a more cooperative relationship,” he said, saying he believes Interim Chief Perez has taken series of steps in the right direction.

Clawson cautioned that while video can be helpful, footage doesn’t always tell the entire story.

“There’s so many factors,” the lieutenant said. While video captures a moment in time, from a particular angle, it doesn’t show the circumstances that led up to that instant.

“So when people make assumptions, they make it based upon what they see without factors that are included,” Clawson said.

blog comments powered by Disqus