The New York City Council is debating whether to allow the oversight organization in charge of the NYPD immediate access to footage from officers' body-worn cameras.
If approved, this would enable officials to carry out more thorough investigations against the members of the nation's largest police force. The Civilian Complaint Review Board has frequently had to endure lengthy waits to obtain body camera footage, and occasionally never receives it at all. If the measure is approved, New York City would be on par with other cities where investigators already have direct access to police body-worn camera material, such as Chicago and Washington, D.C.
CCRB Employees To Access BodyCam Video Database
The legislation would enable CCRB employees to access the body-worn camera video database maintained by the NYPD and search for the footage they require to look into misconduct complaints. It doesn't make sense, according to CCRB Director Jonathan Darche, for police to have access to evidence of their own potential wrongdoing, he said at a committee hearing on Monday.
According to CCRB data, body camera footage significantly affects how police misconduct investigations turn out. Investigators were able to ascertain whether or not officers had broken policy in 70% of complaints that the department thoroughly reviewed with body camera footage in 2021. Investigators could only determine if cops followed NYPD policies in 29% of completely investigated cases when they lacked body camera evidence.
Direct Access Might Boost Productivity
For an organization battling to keep up with a vast backlog of complaints concerning excessive force, racial profiling, and other sorts of police wrongdoing, direct access might significantly boost productivity. The head of legislative affairs for the NYPD stated in a prepared statement that the agency "does not fear transparency," but it does oppose the proposed legislation.
Under the existing approach, CCRB investigators fill out request forms with details such as the date, time, and identities of the officers engaged in the event that will help the department identify the tape they're seeking for. They submit the data to a different section of the CCRB, which ultimately passes it along to the police. The cops then conduct their own search for the video.
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