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The Moscow Police Department launched the use of WatchGuard body-worn cameras on Tues. Apr. 20, 2021. The use of these cameras will provide an additional layer of transparency for the community and officers. Body-worn cameras will assist in gathering and sharing information and evidence more effectively in every effort to meet the Moscow Police Department Mission:
“To provide public safety services that are designed to fairly, efficiently, and effectively prevent crime and safeguard lives and property, to provide professional police services by inviting public participation, resulting in a community atmosphere where citizens are free of unnecessary regulation and are treated with dignity and respect. Our personnel will maintain high ethical standards, training, and professional development. Our goal is to provide a community that is safe, secure, and a pleasant place to live and visit.”
Since 1995, the Moscow Police Department has employed in-car video cameras. The Department’s in-car video protocol activates the recording when lights and sirens are activated and remain on until the officer ends the recording. This program will continue in conjunction with the use of body-worn cameras.
The Moscow Police Department’s Body-Worn Camera protocol requires all sworn officers to wear and use the body-worn camera equipment during their entire shift. The camera is to be activated to record all calls for service, enforcement-related contacts, and incidents where it is reasonably likely that law enforcement action will be taken. Examples of such incidents include, but are not limited to, emergency responses and pursuits, traffic stops, detentions and arrests, issuance of citations, searches of vehicles, persons or residences, interviews with suspects, victims and witnesses, and confrontational contacts. In addition, interactions with an individual who requests an officer record their interaction and any other situations where activating the camera to record would be appropriate. As with all technology, there may be some limitations that we will discover as we use the equipment, but we intend to follow the protocol described above.
All public records, including footage from in-car and body-worn cameras, are managed according to Idaho State Code Title 74 – Transparent and Ethical Government; Chapter 1 – Public Records Act. The retention of videos depends on the nature of the incident. Availability of video footage to the public, again, depends on the nature of the incident and whether the video is evidence in a pending criminal case. Retention and availability of videos will meet existing legal requirements.
The Moscow City Council approved the body-worn camera program for implementation during the budget hearing for FY2021, which began Oct. 1, 2020. The total cost to implement this program included purchasing the equipment at $59,611 and additional annual fees associated with licensing and records storage.
For more information, contact Moscow Police Chief James Fry at 208-882-7064 or by email at email@example.com.