City Government

Chief Responds To Copper Cameras Question

Due to the length of responses about Boise coppers as Chief Mike Masterson takes questions from readers in his last month of service, we will group the responses by topic. The Questions have been gathered in a previous post in the comment section.

Body worn cameras are inevitable. BPD is taking a slow deliberate analysis to make sure we understand the benefits and the unintended consequences. Most, if not all of the agencies who have gone to body worn cameras have not had the experience BoisePD has had with over two decades of recording contacts with its citizens of a law enforcement nature. Yes they provide better openness, transparency and perhaps build trust. ( By the way the Office of the Ombudsman has received 1 citizen complaints in the first half of this year and roughly 5 to date). The initial purchase price could be anywhere from $250-$800k with annual recurring costs for storage exceeding 100k. We are investigating community impact, privacy considerations, impact on sensitive victims, policy and procedure, training, open records parameters, program measures and cost/benefit analysis.

There’s a great deal of emotional response to several high profile police use of force incidents across the country to urge police to act quickly, but what happens when your neighbor files a PRR to get a video of the police interviewing you in your house with the expensive artwork or gun collection in the background which is then shared on social media? Many depts (our size) are now learning of the need to hire three additional people to edit tapes and handle PRR requests. What does the public think about cameras? Many base their initial opinions that being on camera will always happen to someone else and not them but when it happens to them personally they demand privacy. SO, our response is not “no” but “slow.”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Cameras: Chief, That’s not much money compared to your big picture. Which leads to another question: What is the size of the BPD total budget compared to the total budget of the city? And where would you cut the budget if forced to do so to buy the cameras? For example, would you cut the free car perc?

  2. Dave Kangas
    Dec 8, 2014, 3:12 pm

    I appreciate the public records response issue. That is an issue to be thought out. There are times when scenes, incidents, interviews really do not belong out in the public domain.

  3. Seems like a state law specific to police cams would be appropriate to have requests made only by attorneys in the discovery process.

    Also seems like this “bridge” should have already been built.

  4. Cameras would eliminate the overt maipulation of audio-only recordings by law enforcement. No more would police begin repeating “stop resisting…stop resisting…stop resisting” and jerking individuals around to create the impression of a struggle that the judge and/or jury thinks was initiated by a combative “subject” as described in self-serving police reports, which prosecutors and judges give too much credibiity. We could REALLY see whether the “subject had glossy and bloodshot eyes…” and whether they REALLY failed field sobriety tests, were distraught/out-of-control, and whatever the hell “acting suspiciously” means.

  5. why are the cops editing the tapes??? not much use having a tape when they make sure you only see what they want seen

    EDITOR NOTE–Don’t believe tapes are “edited.” There may be times when data is “redacted” to protect privacy, juveniles, security etc. Review of data requests has become an industry in itself.

  6. Im not the one who used edit Dave.. the top cop is… It would be great if we did not need this… but… the actions of as you have said a few have put the integrity of the many is serious serious question. Questions that need ALOT of transparency and some outside not beholden supervision. We all know power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  7. Has the Top copper been gagged by the ultra-liberal mayor or some other factor?

    While we are at it, Ask him if the NSA will be sharing surveillance data with police from the new blimps they are raising over America. Last week’s funding bill made any data collection anywhere on anyone in America completely legal.

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