I-Team: With funding approved, Raleigh PD now needs rules for body cameras

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Raleigh Police are a step closer to body cameras.

The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in support of purchasing body cameras for the Raleigh Police Department, paving the way for the RPD chief and Raleigh City Manager to work out a policy governing those cameras.

Tuesday also marked the first time the policy, formally titled the Departmental Operating Instructions, was released to the public ahead of the council vote.

"With anything you do in an organization this size, I think rules and regulations are important," RPD Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown told ABC11. "It will guide us in terms of trying to do the right thing, and when to do the right thing and how to do the right thing."

The DOI, completed in December, followed 18 months of internal debate and nearly two dozen community meetings.

SEE MORE: Body-worn camera final presentation (.pdf)

"The directive reflects our value of Fairness and Integrity," the title page reads. "By following these guidelines, we will have direct evidence that we live up to the highest standards of behavior. These recordings will demonstrate to other criminal justice system agencies, and the public we serve, that we expect review of our actions and will stand by them.

Several regulations are spelled out in the 14-page document, including direction for officers of when cameras should be turned on (traffic stops, arrests, mental health crises, and searches without a warrant, among others), plus directives on how long the videos should remain stored on computer drives (DWIs for three years, Felony cases for 20 years, among other categories).

The most divisive policy included may be the allowing of officers to view their videos before they write incident reports.

"We will be very closely watching the implementation of that," ACLU spokeswoman Susanna Birdsong told ABC11. "We'll be advocating for changes based on the recommendations we've been making that I really think need to be in an amended version of this policy if it's going to be successful for Raleigh."

The total cost for the body cameras is $3.59 million, covering 600 body cameras and 450 new in-car cameras. A spokeswoman for RPD tells ABC11 training on the cameras will begin in the spring.
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