Make your home page

Group pushes for change in how police use body camera footage in officer shooting probes

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Associated Press Friday reported there is a large push from a policing think tank that aims to change the way law enforcement agencies handle body camera video after police shootings.

The think tank, the Police Executive Research Forum, said in a report released Friday that officers should not be able to review video before making their first statements to investigators, the AP reported.

The position was a change nearly 10 years after the group was first tapped by the Justice Department to write guidelines for agencies adopting body cameras.

In the time since then, 79% of the country’s local police work in departments where the cameras are in use, and are being used in all cities of more than 1 million people, according to the Associated Press.

Friday’s report, a copy of which was provided exclusively to The Associated Press, also said departments should have clear policies on the release of video footage to the public. Of the 127 agencies it reviewed, only 14% had specific policies for releasing body camera footage of critical incidents, the AP reported.

The think tank’s policy shifted from allowing officers to view body-camera footage before speaking to investigators, which it said can allow their stories to change to fit the video, either though lying or subconscious distortion of how they recall the event.

Instead, according to the Associated Press, a hybrid approach was being endorsed, where officers give an early interview before watching the video, then come back and give more information during investigations of shootings or other uses of force.