Body cameras for D.C. police officers recommended to help reduce misconduct complaints

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJLA) - The D.C. Police Complaints Board (PCB) issued a report to Mayor Vincent Gray, the City Council and the Metropolitan Police Department this week recommending that body-worn cameras would be a big help in dealing with complaints of police misconduct by the public.

"Body-worn cameras can be used to resolve many of these types of citizen complaints," the PCB's statement, issued Thursday, read. "In addition, the presence of body-worn cameras on officers may even help to prevent some negative police-citizen interactions."

The Board also recommended that, if implemented, MPD establish an advisory panel of "key district stakeholders" to review footage.

"As a result, the Department can ensure that a comprehensive policy governing video creation, access, usage, and retention is developed and implemented in an appropriate manner," the statement read.

The PCB recommended that the advisory panel include, at a minimum, participants from the Office of Police Complaints, MPD, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, the District’s Office of the Attorney General, representatives of the criminal defense bar, the American Civil Liberties Union, and members of the Fair and Inclusive Policing Task Force.

"The panel should also include members of MPD’s Citizen Advisory Councils and representatives from groups who may be under-reporting police misconduct, including immigrants, non-English speakers, crime victims, and the LGBTQ population.

The Board further recommended that the district provide MPD with funding to conduct the program.

The PCB further proposed that the panel should evaluate the pilot program’s effectiveness, while identifying any issues and recommending improvements. If MPD and the panel determine the pilot program to be beneficial, the PCB proposes that the district government provide funding for wider implementation.

“Police wearing on-body cameras should produce a number of advantages,” said Philip K. Eure, executive director of the Office of Police Complaints. “With the public’s involvement in developing the program, the use of body-worn cameras can lead to better police-community relations, improve officer training, and ultimately enhance public safety.”

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