Thursday, February 02,2023 02:41 AM

This draft policy is temporary and will be updated with a permanent policy on a future date.


    This purpose of this policy is to maintain public trust and to enhance officer safety with the deployment of body worn cameras (BWC’s). BWC’s will allow the division to produce effective material for training and to produce additional evidence for prosecution. Within this order, guidelines are established for the use, management and storage of all footage in accordance with the law.


    This policy was created with consideration to the Bureau Justice of Assistance National Body Worn Camera Tool Kit and the U.S. Department of Justice C.O.P.S./ Police Executive Research Forum “Implementing a Body-Worn Camera Program, Recommendations and Lessons Learned” report. It is the policy of the Newark Police Division (NPD) that body worn cameras shall be worn to provide additional documentation of police-citizen encounters. This will assist personnel in the performance of their duties by providing an accurate and unbiased recorded account of an incident.

    The NPD does recognize that recordings may not always illustrate the entire circumstance of police-citizen encounters, nor do video recordings always capture the entire scenario. A BWC recording is only one piece of evidence that provides one perspective of the incident recorded. The use of a BWC does not eliminate the requirement to provide written documentation of an incident. Recordings can enhance the ability to hold both officers and members of the public accountable for their behavior during contacts.

    It is the policy of the NPD to publicize the deployment of the BWC program on the website, A body worn camera tab shall be created where a posting indicating the use of body worn cameras, an image depicting what the camera looks like, where the camera will be worn, the draft BWC policy with a “comment” section and an online community survey will be posted. The online body worn camera community survey and the “comment” section of the policy will allow residents to express their opinions, concerns or recommendations with the deployment and policy governing the use of BWC’s.

    The NPD shall consider the feedback of the community, for possible inclusion into the body worn camera policy. Surveys and comments received regarding the NPD Body Worn Camera policy shall be reviewed. The BWC administrator shall review this policy quarterly during the pilot phase and on an annual basis after full deployment.

    1. Activate - Turn on the recording mode/function of a body-worn camera.
    2. Body-Worn Camera – Device worn by a law enforcement officer that makes an electronic audio and visual recording of activities that take place during a law enforcement action. The term does not include a mobile video recording device when mounted inside a police vehicle (i.e., dash cam). The term also does not include any form of electronic recording device worn by a law enforcement officer while acting in an undercover capacity, nor does the term include an electronic recording device used to comply with the requirements of Rule 3:17 (electronic recording of station house custodial interrogations)..
    3. Constructive Authority – The same meaning as defined in the Attorney General’s Use of Force Policy, except that the term shall apply only to constructive authority directed against a person who is subject to an investigative detention or arrest (e.g., “show me your hands,” get out of the vehicle,” etc.), or directed against any person if the officer has un-holstered a firearm or a conducted energy device (e.g., “move out of the way,” “get down,” etc.).
    4. Force – The same meaning as defined in General Order 63-02, Use of Force by Police Officers. The term “force” shall include physical, mechanical, enhanced mechanical and deadly force.
    5. Investigation of a Criminal Offense – Any police activity pertaining to the investigation of an indictable crime, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly offense, including but not limited to responding to a report of a possible criminal offense; an investigative detention based on or leading to reasonable and articulable suspicion to believe that a criminal offense has been or is being committed; an arrest for a criminal offense; an interview of a potential witness to a criminal offense; or canvassing an area for potential witnesses to a criminal offense.
    6. Law Enforcement Agency, Agency or Department – A law enforcement body operating under the authority of the laws of New Jersey.
    7. Law Enforcement Officer or Officer – A sworn officer employed by a law enforcement agency.
    8. School – An elementary school, middle school, or high school (public or private).
    9. Youth Facility – A facility where children assemble under adult supervision for educational or recreational purposes, such as day-care centers, youth camps, etc.
    1. Only body worn cameras and storage servers that are issued and approved by the division shall be utilized. All BWC’s, related equipment, data, images, video and metadata captured, recorded or otherwise produced are the sole property of the Newark Police Division.
    2. No officer shall wear or operate a BWC without receiving training on the proper care and use of the device.
    3. Personnel working in an administrative capacity shall not wear body cameras.
    4. Personnel working patrol duty must wear a body worn camera.
    5. Members assigned to a task force, team or unit composed of officers from more than one law enforcement agency shall be authorized to use the BWC if the chief law enforcement officer overseeing the task force authorizes the use.
    6. Upon the Public Safety Director’s discretion, officers in plain clothes or assigned to a specialized unit may be directed to use a body-worn camera.
    1. The commander of the Training Division is responsible for scheduling initial BWC training for all newly hired officers. In addition, a curriculum shall be developed to provide initial training and bi-annual “refresher” training.
    2. Prior to using a BWC, members must complete an initial training course to ensure proper use and operation
    1. When not in use, BWC’s shall be stored in the designated docking station. The docking stations allow for the units to be charged and for the upload of events to the server.
    2. Members shall inspect their BWC’s at the commencement and conclusion of each shift to ensure both video and audio recording capabilities are working. The inspection shall include, but not limited to:
      1. Ensuring the battery is fully charged;
      2. Ensuring the device is free of video from any other user, if camera is being shared, or previous shift.
      3. Malfunctioning BWC’s shall be documented on an administrative report and the camera shall be returned to the issuing supervisor. Repairs to an BWC shall only be performed under the direction of the system administrator. Reports shall be forwarded through the chain of command, to the administrator.
      4. The exchange of non-functioning for a functioning BWC.
    3. When conducting the inspection of the BWC, the member shall activate the camera and verbally state the date, time, and indicate that a test is being performed on the device. The result of the inspection shall be noted on the log sheet.
    1. BWC equipment is the responsibility of the assigned officer and shall be used with reasonable care.
    2. Officers designated to wear the BWC must affix the camera to their outermost garment. The BWC must be placed in the middle of the torso, utilizing the issued mount or bracket, facing forward. No object shall be placed in front of the camera in such a manner that it interferes with or obstructs the recording of video.
    3. Members utilizing a BWC shall document the device number on their daily log sheet at the start of each shift.
    4. When any report is generated documenting criminal activity or a police action where the BWC captured video of the event, an indication must be typed at the end of the Incident Report, Field Interview Report, Continuation Report, Towed Vehicle Report etc. The indication must state “BWC Recording”.
    5. To identify BWC recordings that may raise special, privacy or safety issues, officers shall tag recordings. Recordings containing any of the following shall be tagged:
      1. The image of a victim of a criminal offense;
      2. The image of a child;
      3. Images in a residential premise (e.g., home, apartment, college dormitory room, hotel/motel room, etc.), a school or youth facility, healthcare facility or medical office, substance abuse or mental health treatment facility, or a place of worship.);
      4. Conversation with a person whose request to deactivate the BWC was denied;
      5. Special operations event or execution of an arrest and/or search warrant where confidential tactical information may have been recorded;
      6. The image of an undercover officer or confidential informant;
      7. The screen of a law enforcement computer monitor that is displaying confidential personal or law enforcement sensitive information.
    6. Tagging shall be completed in accordance with the BWC’s operational instructions.
    1. Activation of BWC is Required

      Members shall activate the BWC to record police related interactions with citizens in the performance of their duty. Activation is required upon receiving a dispatched assignment or upon the initiation of a police action. The following circumstances require the BWC to be activated:

      1. When conducting a motor vehicle stop, from the time the violation is observed until the stop is concluded, to include:
        1. Car/truck inspection
        2. Motor vehicle pursuit
        3. Motor Vehicle Safety Checkpoint
        4. Vehicle pursuit
      2. When responding to a call for service (activate upon receipt of the assignment).
      3. When aiding a motorist or a pedestrian (community caretaking check).
      4. When interviewing a witness in the course of investigating a criminal offense.
      5. When conducting a custodial interrogation of a suspect, unless the interrogation is otherwise being recorded in accordance with N.J. Court Rule 3:17 (electronic recordation of station house interrogation).
      6. When making an arrest.
      7. When conducting any kind of search (consensual or otherwise, including a protective frisk for weapons).
      8. When engaged in a police response to any type of civil disorder, strike, picket line, demonstration or protest in circumstances where the officer is engaged with or in the presence of civilians and the officer or any other officer on the scene may be required to employ constructive authority or force.
      9. When conducting an investigative detention/field interview (e.g. Terry v. Ohio criminal suspicion stop).
      10. When conducting an officer-initiated pedestrian stop, which includes a stop that falls short of a Terry stop because the pedestrian is free to walk away, such as a “mere inquiry” (e.g. asking where someone is going).
      11. When the member uses constructive authority or force, or reasonably believes that constructive authority may be used in any encounter or situation.
      12. When the member is transporting an arrestee to a police station, county jail, other place of confinement, hospital or other medical care/mental health facility. The BWC shall remain activated until the arrestee is secured in the holding cell, processing room or until the arrestee is with hospital/medical/mental health personnel and the officer is no longer in the presence of the arrestee.
      13. When the member is involved in any police action/encounter where departmental policy requires a report and/or notation on a log sheet is required other than provisions listed in Section VIII, Subsection D.
      14. When a BWC is deactivated, the device shall be reactivated as soon as it is safe and practicable to do so if and when the circumstances justifying deactivation no longer exist.
      15. When dispatched or otherwise responding to a scene where knowing or reasonably believing that police deadly force has been or is being employed, or to a scene where an officer has requested emergency assistance (e.g., officer in distress, shots fired, etc.) the BWC shall be activated upon dispatch of the assignment. While at the scene of a police deadly-force event or the on-scene investigation of that event the officer shall not deactivate the BWC unless instructed to do so by the assistant prosecutor supervising the investigation of the deadly force incident.
      16. When actively investigating a criminal offense, responding to an emergency or reasonably believing that constructive authority or force will be required in a school or youth facility or on school or youth facility property.
      17. When actively investigating a criminal offense, responding to an emergency or reasonably believing that constructive authority or force will be required in a patient care area of a healthcare facility, medical office or substance abuse treatment facility.
      18. When actively investigating a criminal offense, responding to an emergency or reasonably believing that constructive authority or force will be required in a place of worship.
    2. Notice of Activation
      1. When wearing a BWC, officers shall notify crime victims and civilians inside of their homes or places of abode (e.g., hotel/motel rooms, boarding houses, etc.) that they are being recorded unless it is unsafe or unfeasible to provide such notification
      2. If the member decides not to provide notification of the activation of the BWC because it is unsafe or infeasible to do so, the member shall document the reason for that decision in their investigation report or by narrating the reason on the BWC recording.
      3. If a civilian inquires if a member is equipped with a BWC or inquires if the device is activated, the member shall answer truthfully unless the Public Safety Director or the Chief of Police has expressly authorized the member to make a covert recording.
      4. For all other interactions with members of the public, officers shall inform subjects that they are being recorded at the earliest opportunity that is safe and feasible to do so. The failure to verbally notify a person pursuant to this section shall not affect the admissibility of any statement or evidence.
    3. Continuous Operation of a BWC, Once Initiated.
      1. Except as stipulated in this policy, BWCs shall remain activated for the entire duration of each event/encounter, and shall not be deactivated until either the officer(s) or all citizens have departed the scene and the officer(s) have informed the dispatcher/communications or a supervisor that the event has ended.
      2. Officers providing assistance or backup to an officer on an event that requires activation of the BWC are required to have their own BWC activated until all citizens have departed the scene or their assistance is no longer required.
    4. Activation of BWC is Not Required
    5. A BWC shall not be activated during the following:
      1. When a member is on break (e.g. meal, using a restroom, etc.) or not actively performing law enforcement duties.
      2. For a personal purpose or when engaged in police union business.
      3. During any form of disciplinary proceedings (e.g. counseling, police trial, inspections, evaluations, etc.) or any similar supervisory interaction.
      4. In any location where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g., restroom, locker room, break room, etc.), unless enforcement action is required.
      5. Courtroom proceedings, unless associated with a call for service or incident.
    6. Deactivation of BWC

      If an officer fails to activate the BWC, fails to record the entire event/contact, or interrupts the recording, the officer shall document the reason the recording was not made, interrupted or terminated in the applicable investigation/incident report. If an incident report is not required and a recording was not made, interrupted or prematurely terminated, this must be documented on an administrative report. A reference must be made regarding the time, date, location and event number, if applicable.

      In any instance where a BWC was deactivated pursuant to this directive, the device shall be reactivated as soon as it is safe and practicable to do so if and when the circumstances justifying deactivation no longer and the officer would otherwise be required to activate the BWC.

      1. Officers may deactivate a BWC when a civilian conversing with the officer requests that the device be turned off under the circumstances where it reasonably appears that the person will not provide information or otherwise cooperate with the officer unless that request is respected.
        1. Officers shall not suggest to a person that the BWC should be deactivated; nor shall the member ask whether he or she would prefer the BWC be deactivated. The request for de-activation must be self initiated by the civilian. Officers may explain the consequences of de-activation (e.g., evidence relevant to a criminal investigation will not be recorded).
        2. In deciding whether to deactivate the BWC, the officer shall consider the privacy and safety interests of the person requesting deactivation, whether the encounter is occurring in the person’s residence, and the need for the information or assistance that the person will provide is important to the investigation, yet is not critical to require recording.
        3. If a civilian inquires of an officer whether the officer is equipped with a BWC, or inquires whether the device is activated, the officer shall answer truthfully unless the Public Safety Director, acting in accordance with Attorney General directives, has expressly authorized the officer to make a covert electronic recording.
      2. When an officer deactivates a BWC at the request of a civilian, the following procedures shall be followed:
        • The conversation between the officer and the civilian requesting the deactivation shall be recorded.
        • The officer shall narrate the circumstances of the deactivation prior to de-activating (e.g., “I am now turning off my BWC as per the victim’s request”).
        • The officer shall report the circumstances concerning deactivation to their immediate superior officer as soon as practicable.
        • The officer shall document the circumstances of the deactivation in any investigation or report concerning the incident under investigation.
      3. If an officer declines a request to deactivate a BWC, the reasons for declining the request (e.g. member believes that it may be necessary to use constructive authority during encounter) must be narrated on the recording and shall be reported to the member’s immediate supervisor as soon as it is safe and practicable to do so.
      4. Upon declining a deactivation request, the officer must immediately inform the person making the request of that decision. Officers are prohibited from misleading the person making the deactivation request into believing that the BWC has been turned off unless a covert recording has been authorized by the Public Safety Director or designee.
      5. Officers shall deactivate a BWC when participating in any criminal investigation strategy or plan provided that the strategy/plan is not discussed in the immediate presence of a civilian, and further provided that the BWC equipped member is not actively engaged in the collection of physical evidence. When a BWC is deactivated, the member must narrate the circumstances of the deactivation.
      6. Officers must deactivate a BWC when a person, other than an arrestee, is seeking emergency medical services for him or herself or another and requests that the BWC is deactivated.
      7. Members shall deactivate a BWC when specifically authorized to do so by an assistant prosecutor or their assistant or deputy attorney general for good and sufficient cause as determined by the assistant prosecutor or assistant or deputy attorney general. The member shall narrate the circumstances for deactivation indicating the name of the person who authorized the deactivation.
      8. Members shall deactivate or not activate a BWC when:
        • In a school or youth facility or on a school or youth facility property under circumstances where minor children would be in view of the BWC while not actively investigating criminal activity, responding to an emergency or reasonably believing that constructive authority or force will not be used. Officers shall narrate the reason for deactivation.
        • Officers shall deactivate or not activate a BWC when in a place of worship under circumstances where worshipers would be in view of the BWC while not actively investigating criminal activity, responding to an emergency or reasonably believing that constructive authority or force will not be used. Officers shall narrate the reason for deactivation.
        • Officers shall deactivate or not activate a BWC while in a courtroom during court proceedings, unless the member is responding to a call for service or is authorized to use constructive authority or unless such activation is expressly authorized by the judge.
        • Officers shall deactivate or not activate a BWC when in a patient care area of a healthcare facility, medical office or substance abuse treatment facility under the circumstances where patients would be in view of the BWC while not actively investigating criminal activity, responding to an emergency or reasonably believing that constructive authority or force will not be used. Members shall narrate the reason for deactivation.

          In the event a BWC captures the image of a patient in a substance abuse treatment facility, the member’s immediate supervisor shall be notified and a notification to the BWC Administrator and the Public Safety Director shall be made to ensure compliance with all applicable federal laws and regulations provided for the confidentiality of information for substance abuse treatment. The recording shall be tagged and a notation documenting the date, time, person notified and details of the notification shall be documented in the BWC record keeping system. The recording shall not be accessed without the expressed approval of the Public Safety Director or designee. (Destruction of the recording is inappropriate until it is determined that exculpatory information was not captured.).
      9. If the BWC produces radio-frequency interference while activated or while in standby mode of an electronic alcohol breath testing device, the device shall be deactivated or removed from the area while the alcohol breath test device is being used. Deactivation of the BWC must be narrated (e.g., “I am deactivating the BWC because the suspect is about to take a breath test.”), and the BWC shall be reactivated when safe and practicable to do so following the completion of the breath testing operation. Nothing herein shall be construed to preclude the use of a BWC to record the behavior of a person arrested for driving while intoxicated other than while the person is in the testing area while the device is being operated.

    Members utilizing a BWC shall upload data in accordance with device’s operational instructions. The BWC shall be placed in the designated docking station, which will automatically upload data and recharge the battery. All video must be uploaded by the end of shift.

    BWC video will be uploaded to the body-worn camera servers located at 480 Clinton Avenue.


    The retention period for BWC recordings shall not be less than 90 days. The BWC administrator is responsible for coordinating with the body camera vendor to establish a retention and disposition schedule, in accordance with requirements set forth by the State of New Jersey. The following shall be subject to the following additional retention periods:

    • When a BWC recording pertains to a criminal investigation or otherwise records information that may be subject to discovery in a prosecution, the recording shall be treated as evidence and shall be kept in accordance with the retention period for evidence in a criminal prosecution.
    • When a BWC records an arrest that did not result in an ongoing prosecution, or records the use of police force, the recording shall be kept until the expiration of the statue of limitations for filing a civil complaint against the officer and/or agency.
    • When a BWC records an incident that is the subject of an internal affairs complaint, the recording shall be kept pending final resolution of the internal affairs investigation and any resulting administrative action.
    • When a civilian who is the subject of the video makes a written request that footage be retained, the recording shall be kept until the expiration of the statute of limitations for filing a civil complaint against the officer and/or agency.

    Viewing of BWC events is strictly limited to authorized employees of this division. Viewing by any other person is prohibited unless authorized by the Public Safety Director. No law enforcement officer or civilian employee of this division shall access, view, copy, disseminate or otherwise use a BWC recording except for an official purpose. Access to and use of a BWC recording is permitted only:

    1. When relevant to and in furtherance of a criminal investigation or prosecution.
    2. When relevant to and in furtherance of an internal affairs investigation which shall include an investigation of any use of force.
    3. When relevant to and in furtherance of a management review process to identify circumstances indicating possible police misconduct or to determine the existence of a pattern of possible misconduct.
    4. To assist the officer whose BWC made a recording to prepare his or her own police report, except as delineated in number 15 of this section.
    5. When relevant to a supervisor’s review of an officer’s actions as part of the supervisory responsibility authorized by the division.
    6. To show a civilian who intends to file a complaint against an officer to demonstrate what actually occurred during the encounter so that the person can make an informed decision whether to file the complaint.
    7. To comply with the state’s discovery obligations in prosecutions pursuant to the Rules of Court;
      1. Such request must be specific and on the proper instrument (e.g., subpoena, discovery request etc.)
      2. Only those portions pertinent to the request shall be forwarded.
      3. The NPD reserves the right to redact video as applicable by law (minor, victim, witness etc.)
      4. All request for copies or review of BWC recordings are subject to fee.
    8. To comply with any other legal obligation to turn over the recording to a person or entity.
    9. To show or disseminate the recording to a civilian or a non-law enforcement entity, or to disseminate to the public, when approved by the Public Safety Director, to determine that the disclosure to that particular person/entity or the public is warranted because the person’s/entity’s/public’s need or access outweighs the law enforcement interest in maintaining confidentiality.
    10. For training purposes provided that the recording is redacted so that the identity of the individuals depicted in the recording cannot be determined by any person viewing the training video unless the depicted individuals have consented to the recording being used for training purposes.
    11. To conduct an audit to ensure compliance with this policy.
    12. To enhance officer and public safety by providing intelligence information in preparation for a raid/warrant execution, when such use is approved by the Public Safety Director.
    13. Any other specified official purpose where the Public Safety Director, finds in writing that good and sufficient cause exists to authorize access to a particular BWC recording.
    14. When receiving a subpoena, court order, or request pursuant to the Open Public Records Act, or the common law right to know, for a BWC recording members shall, within one business day of receipt of such subpoena, court order, or request, and before complying with it, provide notice to the County Prosecutor and the Law Department of the City of Newark. Such notice shall state clearly the deadline by when a response must be provided.

      The superior officer assigned to the Legal Affairs Unit shall maintain a dialogue with the person or entity submitting the request in order to provide a status. A database, of all requests for video, shall be created and maintained pertaining to the dissemination of any body-worn camera video.
    15. When a police related use-of-force incident is being investigated by the County Prosecutor’s Office or any other agency with equivalent or a greater authority, department members and civilians shall not have access to any BWC recording until authorized by that lead investigative agency.
    16. A BWC recording of an event or encounter that involves an investigation of a criminal offense shall not be shared with or provided or shown to any person, entity, or government agency, other than a law enforcement agency, officer or authorized civilian employee of such agency, unless such disclosure is expressly approved by the Public Safety Director.
    17. A BWC recording tagged pursuant to Section VII, Subsection 5, of this policy shall not be accessed, viewed, copied, disseminated, or otherwise used without the express permission of the Public Safety Director, in accordance with the Attorney General directive.
    Personnel shall not erase or in any other manner alter, tamper with, destroy, or conceal BWC recordings, remove or disable any camera. Any such tampering is a violation of NJSA 2C:28-7, and is a 4th degree crime.
    1. Data uploaded from BWCs will be stored on storage devices located at 480 Clinton Avenue. All images, videos and audio recordings captured by the BWC are the exclusive property of the Newark Police Division. Accessing, copying, releasing, tampering with, destroying video and transmitting files for non-law enforcement purposes is strictly prohibited.
    2. Events captured on BWCs shall not be released to other law enforcement entities other than the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and/or the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice without the express permission of the Public Safety Director.
    3. The system administrator shall manage the integrity, handling and storage of all BWC recordings. The administrator shall prevent unauthorized access to all BWC recordings. The system administrator must establish and maintain a database to document the following information:
      • Date and time of access;
      • Specific BWC recording(s) that was/were accessed;
      • Member who accessed the stored BWC recording;
      • Person who approved access, where applicable;
      • Reason(s) for access, specifying the purpose or purposes for access and the relevant case/investigation number, where applicable.
    4. A BWC recording that has been “tagged” for special privacy or safety issues, Section VII, Subsection 5, shall not be accessed, viewed, copied, disseminated or otherwise used without first obtaining the permission of the County Prosecutor.
    5. Prior to the destruction/erasing/deletion of any BWC recording, the BWC Administrator shall ensure the specific recording as well as relevant divisional reports/case files to confirm compliance with the proper retention schedule.
    1. Supervisory personnel shall ensure members under their direct supervision are utilizing BWCs in accordance with this policy.
    2. For every search or arrest involving the recovery of contraband evidence or use of force, the desk supervisor or unit commander shall review the circumstances of the encounter. This includes video from body cameras, to assess the adequacy of the seizure or the use of force.
    3. The commander of the Compliance Unit shall ensure two BWC incidents are reviewed on a monthly basis to ensure all members are utilizing and operating the equipment in accordance with this policy. In addition, videos shall be reviewed to determine if investigatory stops and detentions, searches and arrests are complete and adhere to law and division policy.
    4. Video shall be selected from random patrolmen commencing with the 5th Precinct. A different precinct must be selected each month.
    5. An administrative report shall be prepared indicating the name of the member selected, what type of assignment captured on video, if the member was in compliance with this policy and if any positive or negative activities were observed.
    6. The administrative report must indicate a recommendation for training or discipline.