Body Worn Camera Policy

This policy establishes guidelines and procedures for the utilization of Body Worn Cameras (BWC) by members of the York College Campus Police Department (YCCPD). Additionally, this policy establishes procedures for the retention, duplication, storage, and purging of recordings from the BWC equipment.

It shall be the policy of the YCCPD that officers shall activate the BWC when such use is appropriate to the proper performance of his or her official duties, where the recordings are consistent with this policy and the law. This policy does not govern the use of surreptitious recording devices used in undercover operations. Only department issued BWCs are authorized for use. Department personnel are not authorized to use privately-owned BWCs while on duty. Violations of this policy will subject the employee to disciplinary action.

The department recognizes that video images cannot always show the full story nor do video images capture an entire scene. The department also recognizes that the BWC video does not mirror the perspective of the officer at the time of an incident, nor does the video include other factors known to or perceived by the officer that could impact the officer’s judgement and decision-making, such as events beyond the scope of the camera, the officer’s “reactionary gap”, or the difference between human vision and the camera’s video recording abilities. Therefore, the use of body-worn cameras do not reduce the requirement to provide thorough written documentation of an incident.

This directive constitutes departmental policy, and is not intended to enlarge the employer’s or employee’s civil or criminal liability in any way.  It shall not be construed as the creation of a higher legal standard of safety or care in an evidentiary sense with respect to third party claims insofar as the employer’s or employee’s legal duty as imposed by law.  Violations of policy will only form the basis for departmental administrative sanctions. Violations of law will form the basis for civil and criminal sanctions in a recognized judicial setting. 

Policy: 2.36 — IACLEA Standards: 9.1.7

The purpose of this directive is to establish procedures for the use of body worn camera equipment. The YCCPD uses body-worn cameras to enhance police services to the community by using video and audio to document events, actions, conditions, and statements made during investigative contacts, traffic stops, arrests, searches, and calls for service. The use of the BWCs will allow the YCCPD to accomplish many goals including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Allow Officers to more accurately document events, actions, conditions, and statements made during incidents.
  2. Enhance an Officer’s ability to prepare reports and present court testimony.
  3. Improve the training capabilities of the YCCPD.
  4. Assist the YCCPD with investigations of alleged misconduct.
  5. Protect the YCCPD and its members from civil liability resulting from wrongful accusations of misconduct.
  6. This policy does not regulate the operation of covert audio/video devices.
  7. At the time of the issuance of this policy, the YCCPD has chosen AXIS as its BWC system, and Milestone as its video management software. Media obtained from the BWC is stored on internal video storage servers and accessed through Milestone.
  8. Officers who are issued the Axis BWC will be trained on its use and on the use of the Milestone system. Supervisors will be trained on the Milestone system. If at any point in the future, the YCCPD decides to utilize any other BWC system, this policy will remain in effect, and the officers will be provided training on the new system.

This policy governs the use of BWCs by any member of the YCCPD who is trained and authorized to use them in the performance of their job responsibilities.

  1. Only sworn Campus Police Officers are authorized to use BWCs at this time.

YCCPD Campus Police Officers assisting other law enforcement agencies will be guided by this policy.

  • Axis Body Worn Camera system – all cameras, accessories, docking stations, etc. related to the Axis BWC System.
  • Body Worn Camera Program Manager – Employee or Officer designated by the Director, to manage the BWC equipment and system, including the video storage system.
  • Agency Administrator – Officers of the YCCPD who will be identified in the Milestone system at the administrator level, with full access to user rights.
  • End User – Officers of the YCCPD who have been issued or assigned a BWC, and who has been given individual account access rights to Milestone.
  • Axis W800 System Controller - A computer server with attached to docking stations, physically installed at YCCPD station. The System Controller simultaneously recharges the BWC equipment while digitally encrypting and uploading all data captured by the BWC during his/her shift. The System Controller then digitally transfers the encrypted data to Milestone.
  • Milestone - A digital media software package that can be remotely accessed by End Users and Administrators. This software accesses the digitally encrypted data in a highly secure environment that is only accessible to approved personnel based upon their security clearance.
  • Media or Data – This includes photographs, audio and video recordings captured by the BWC. This evidence is then encrypted and stored digitally according to the YCCPD Policy.
  1. Every officer assigned a BWC shall receive training in the proper use, operation and care of the equipment, as well as compliance with agency policy and laws governing consent, evidence, victim and witness privacy, and public disclosure, prior to their use of a BWC. Additional training may be required at periodic intervals to ensure the continued effective use and operation of the equipment, proper calibration and performance, and to incorporate changes, updates, or other revisions in law, policy and equipment.
  2. The BWC shall be worn in a manner consistent with department training. The BWC shall be worn for the entire shift and maintained in a constant state of operational readiness.
  3. Officers responsible for operating BWC equipment shall inspect the equipment prior to use in order to verify proper functioning and monitor its performance throughout their tour of duty.
  4. Any deviations in the operating condition, appearance, or suitability for its intended use shall be reported immediately to a supervisor.
  5. If equipment repair is needed an email shall be sent to the Director of Campus Police. Officers shall never attempt any repair of BWC equipment.
  6. When an officer determines that recording media is nearing its maximum capacity or must be removed from service due to its evidentiary value, the officer shall return to the YCCPD station and upload the data using the Docking Station/System Controller.
  7. Officers shall document in Report Exec, in their incident report, when video/audio recordings were made at the scene.
  8. Officers shall inform those who ask, that audio/video recording equipment is in use.
  9. Officers shall not erase, or in any manner alter BWC media.
  10. Officers will ensure BWC devices are securely stored in authorized locations when devices are not in service.

When reasonable and safe to do so, officers operating the BWC equipment shall begin recordings in the following circumstances unless doing so would be unsafe, impossible, or impracticable:

  1. At the initiation of any dispatched or self-initiated call for service. Examples of these types of calls include, but are not limited to;
    1. All enforcement/investigations related to citizen contacts (e.g., domestics, assaults, disturbances)
    2. Traffic or pedestrian investigative stops.
    3. In-progress Vehicle, Crimes Code violations and College Policy violations.
    4. On scene interviews. If a victim or witness wishes to make a statement or share information, but refuses to do so while being recorded, officers should turn off the BWC in order to obtain the statement or information and note in their report the reason they stopped the recording.
    5. Police pursuits.
    6. Vehicle crashes or major crime scenes, as necessary, to document the scene.
    7. DUI investigations.
    8. Use of force situations.
    9. High risk encounters (e.g., barricade situations, active shooter)
    10. Mental Health encounters.
    11. Investigative detentions or arrests.
    12. All transports of prisoners and citizens.
    13. During management of a crowd/protest
    14. Any other incident, event, situation, or circumstance in which the officer reasonably determines may be of evidentiary value and/or aid in the investigation of possible complaints of police misconduct unless restricted conditions exist as outlined under section VI of this policy.
    15. Frisks and cursory pat downs searches
    16. Consent searches (record consent to search)
    17. Warrantless searches authorized under law
    18. Inventory searches
    19. Probable cause searches
    20. Search incident to arrest
    21. Vehicle searches
    22. Execution of search warrants or arrest warrants
    23. Any contact whether listed or not, that becomes confrontational or adversarial after contact is initiated.
  2. Officers shall cease recording incidents only upon completion of their involvement in the incident.
  3. If the Officer fails to activate the BWC, fails to record the entire contact, or interrupts the recording, the officer must articulate in an incident report the reason the recording was not made, was interrupted, or terminated. The Director of Campus Police will be informed to review the incident and actions of the officer(s).
  4. If officers are unable to begin recording with the BWC due to circumstances making it unsafe, impossible, or impractical to do so, officers shall begin recording with the BWC at the first reasonable opportunity to do so. Officers shall document, in writing, the circumstances preventing them from activating the BWC and provide that documentation to their immediate supervisor.
  5. Officers may review BWC recordings prior to documenting an incident, arrest, search, interview or other enforcement or investigative activity to ensure their reports, statements and documentation are accurate and complete.
  6. If an officer is involved in an officer-involved shooting, in-custody death, or other officer-involved critical incident that results in serious injury or death, the department reserves the right to limit or restrict an officer from immediately viewing the BWC recording. To determine an officer’s state of mind and threat perception during the incident under investigation, an officer’s review of the recording will not be provided until an initial statement is provided relative to these factors.

Officers shall abide by the following legal requirements governing the use of BWC equipment:

  1. Officers shall not use BWC equipment unless acting in the performance of their official duties.
  2. Officers shall only use YCCPD issued BWC equipment, which meets all established Non-Vehicle-Mounted Mobile Video Recording Systems features and standards for use as outlined in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
  3. Officers shall ensure that they are clearly identifiable as a law enforcement officer. This requirement is satisfied if the officer is in uniform and/or displaying their badge of office and as governed by Pennsylvania legal precedent.
  4. Only oral communications occurring in close proximity to the officer may be recorded. This legal requirement is satisfied by the current range settings of the wireless microphone.
  5. Officers shall inform all individuals identifiably present as soon as it is safe and reasonably practical, that their oral/video communications will be or have been intercepted and recorded.  
  6. Officers shall abide by the following additional requirements governing the use of BWC equipment:
    1. When the recording function has been activated to record an incident, it shall not be deactivated until the incident has been completed. Officers are encouraged to narrate the video recording during a recorded incident, which will assist in establishing probable cause for enforcement action and assist in report writing.
    2. Officers shall not erase or alter BWC recordings, except for approved annotation in accordance with the training and capabilities of the BWC system (example – flagging a location in Milestone for use in court at a later date).
    3. Upon completion of an assigned shift, officers shall ensure that the BWC’s battery is recharged. Each officer will ensure that the assigned BWC equipment is properly connected to the docking station. All data must be downloaded at the end of every shift.
    4. If the BWC equipment is damaged, it will be sent to the Director of Campus Police who will ensure that the BWC equipment is repaired or replaced as necessary.
    5. Lost, stolen, or damaged BWC equipment shall be documented in the officer’s daily report and notification must be made to the officer’s supervisor immediately.

Any use of the BWC for any purpose other than official law enforcement business is a violation of this policy.  Non-law enforcement business can include, but is not limited to:

  1. Covertly recording other law enforcement personnel or openly recording other law enforcement personnel’s break time or other personal activities (including personal phone calls, restroom, and/or locker use);
  2. Recording any communication with a supervisor, College official, or other College employee unless in the process of handling any type of active incident as outlined in section IV above;
  3. Recording a conversation that the officer is not party to, unless the officer is handling a law enforcement incident and is in a lawful position when the recording occurs.
  4. The BWC devices shall not be used to record oral communications inside the dormitories, residence halls or inside college owned houses of any individual unless the officer is in fresh pursuit of the individual and deactivation of the BWC equipment would create a risk to officer safety. The recording should be stopped as soon as it is safe and practicable to do so. These circumstances must be documented in the officer’s incident report.
  5. The BWC devices shall not be used in department locker rooms, dispatch center, restrooms or any other place where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.
  6. Officers will not use the BWC to record a particular person based solely on the person’s race, color, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability.
  7. The BWC will not be used for the purpose of intimidating an individual or to discourage an individual from observing police activity, making appropriate inquiries of an officer, or making a complaint.
  8. The BWC will not be used to record confidential informants or undercover officers.
  9. Officers will ensure that all care is taken to prevent unauthorized persons from viewing the digital recordings.  Any unauthorized use of the recordings will subject the member to disciplinary action. This includes, but is not limited to, the uploading or converting of the digital evidence for posting to any type of social media without the express permission of the Director of Campus Safety.
  1. The recordings produced on the BWC equipment are the property of the York College Campus Police Department, and will be subject to YCCPD policies regarding the viewing, release, retention and destruction of such evidence. Contents of BWC recordings are considered investigative and/or intelligence information, and as such are for department use only.
  2. Any and all data and recordings created by the BWC equipment are the exclusive property of the YCCPD. Any portion of the video that contains events surrounding a violation of the law is considered a record of criminal investigation. They are not available for inspection, review or viewing by the public. Generally, copies of BWC media will not be duplicated, viewed, or disseminated without a valid court order. Officers will not duplicate, copy, tamper, misuse or otherwise possess any such data or recordings for any personal reason.
  3. Data from the camera system shall only be reviewed by authorized personnel; that is, personnel that have been cleared through a fingerprint-based background check, have received Security Awareness Training and have singed the appropriate agreements, if applicable.
  4. With the permission of the Director, copies of BWC media may be made available to governmental employees who are directly involved in the investigation and/or prosecution of a criminal case related to the digital evidence, or who are previously authorized to interact with YCCPD evidence (example – York City or Spring Garden Township Police, District Attorney’s Office, etc.). Follow CHRIA rules.
  5. Mandatory Retention: All video shall be maintained/archived for no less than 90 days unless otherwise specified in this policy.
  6. The following types of incidents recorded on BWC equipment shall be retained and processed as evidence by the BWC Program Manager in accordance with this policy as soon as practical, using the capabilities of the Milestone system.
    1. Use of Force (retention, 2 years)
    2. Pursuits (retention 2 years)
    3. Patrol Vehicle Crashes (retention, 2 years)
    4. Deadly Force/Critical Incidents (Never purged)
    5. Arrests/Incidents which may result in the filling of misdemeanor or felony charges (retention, 2 years)
    6. Other incidents which are likely to become the subject of civil litigation against the YCCPD or its personnel, including, but not limited to, verbal complaint(s) against the YCCPD or its personnel (retention, 2 years).
  7. Requests for Retention: Any officer who believes that the retention of a recording beyond 90 days, not specifically required by this policy, (e.g., for use in a summary proceeding, involving a traffic violation or training), shall notify the BWC program manager as soon as possible. Likewise, recordings may be retained beyond 90 days, if the College’s legal counsel requests retention of records as relevant to ongoing or threatened legal proceedings. The BWC program manager shall evaluate each request in accordance with this regulation.  Officers are advised, per this regulation, that all recordings collected by the BWC equipment will be purged no later than 90 days from the date of the last recording unless subject to legal obligation to retain the footage or as specified elsewhere in this policy.
  8. All requests from officers for duplication/retention are to be requested on YCCPD Form #105 “Body Worn Camera Video Retention Form’” found on the shared drive. The completed form must be sent to the BWC program manager.
  9. When properly requested and approved, the BWC program manager will duplicate the recording of the incident from the Milestone system and ensure its delivery to the requesting officer in a timely manner. YCCPD Form #105 will specify the reason that the recording is requested (example – court), and the date that the recording is needed. 
  10. Recordings requested to be preserved by an officer or a supervisor, where the recording may be necessary for use in any summary proceeding or traffic violation shall be purged 90 days from the conclusion of all proceedings related to the citation.
  11. Recordings requested to be preserved by the Director or a supervisor, where the recording may be necessary for use in any civil, administrative, or disciplinary proceeding shall be retained until destruction is authorized by the requester.
  12. Recordings that are the subject of a subpoena, court order, or request for pretrial discovery or inspection shall be furnished to the requestor in accordance with existing YCCPD policies. Requests must be made in writing to the Director of Campus Police, and should contain the date, time, and location of the recording and the names of the parties involved. In criminal cases, notice shall be provided to the prosecuting attorney.
  13. Recordings requested to be preserved by any individual who is a participant on the recording for use in any civil proceeding against the YCCPD or its personnel must be in writing, and should contain the date, time, location of the recording, and the names of the parties involved. Notice of the request shall be immediately provided to the Director of Campus Police and the recordings shall be retained for a minimum of two years from the date of the incident and shall not be destroyed without the permission of the Director.
  14. Recordings requested to be preserved by any individual who is a participant on the recording for use in any civil proceeding that is not against the YCCPD or its personnel must be in writing to the Director of Campus Police, and should contain the date, time, location of the recording, and the names of the parties involved. The recordings shall be retained for a period of two years or until a copy of the recording has been provided to the requester when authorized under YCCPD policies, whichever comes first.
  15. With approval of the Director, specific portions of BWC media may be released to the public under limited circumstances for the purpose of aiding investigations. Some examples include to assist in locating a suspect or a missing person or to assist in an investigation.

Periodically, BWC may record events which may prove useful as training aids. When incidents recorded are perceived to be of value as a training aid, the following procedure shall apply:

  1. The officer/supervisor knowledgeable of the recorded incident will advise the Director of the significance of the recorded sequence.
  2. If it is the conclusion of the Director that it is of value as a training aid, he/she may grant approval for duplication and make a request to the BWC program manager for a duplicate recording of the incident.
  3. The BWC program manager shall retrieve the requested recording and duplicate the recorded segment referenced in the request.  The BWC program manager shall then deliver the duplicate to the Director who may forward it an FTO, supervisor or certified instructor for training purposes.
  1. BWC program manager shall be responsible for the retention, duplication and purging of BWC recordings. BWC program manager shall also ensure recordings of incidents are maintained in accordance with this policy.
  2. The BWC program manager shall ensure that all recordings on the Milestone system are purged 90 days from the date of the last recorded incident, after required and/or all properly requested and approved duplications have been made. A request for retention of a recording that has not been preserved after purging of the MVR media cannot be processed.
  3. The BWC program manager shall complete a supplemental report to the applicable incident report when an incident recording is retained beyond the standard 90 days per section VII. (F) of this policy, or when an officer retention request is approved Electronically retained recordings shall be retained as outlined in this policy.
  4. The BWC program manager may randomly review video recordings to ensure that the equipment is operating properly and that officers are using the devices appropriately and in accordance with policy and to identify any areas in which additional training or guidance is required. If it appears that an officer is not following department policy guidelines, the video shall be reviewed by the Director or his/her designee. Random review of video will not be performed for the sole purpose of “catching” officers committing violations of policy, but policy violations noted during review of video footage may be the subject of appropriate discipline.
  1. Video and audio captured via the BWC will be used for official purposes only.
  2. Each event must be categorized, according to the procedures established within Milestone, according to event type so that proper retention periods will be applied.
  3. The use of the BWC shall be recorded in the appropriate section of YCCPD reports.
  4. Officers may use media captured via the BWC to assist with investigations and the completion of required reports. Officers may also use the media captured by the BWC to assist investigators and supervisors in evaluating on-going situations.
  5. Using the capabilities of Milestone, officers may work with the BWC program manager to add markers and/or create clips in order to assist investigators and/or prosecutors.
  6. Information pertaining to criminal incidents that are obtained from BWC can only be released to CHRIA agencies. All other non-criminal incidents footage can be reviewed with permission from the Director of Campus Safety.

In the event of an unintentional activation of the BWC system during non-enforcement or non-investigative activities, (example – restroom or meal break), or in other areas where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists, officers may request that the recording is deleted. A memorandum detailing the circumstances of the unintentional recording will be forwarded via the chain of command to the Director of Campus Police.  To be approved, the request for deletion requires two-party authorization. One of those parties will be the Director of Campus Police and the other will be the Lt. /Assistant Director. Upon approval, the BWC program manager may delete the unintentional recording.

  1. Supervisors shall ensure that officers equipped with BWC devices utilize them in accordance with policy and procedures defined herein.
  2. Supervisors shall review the following recordings:
    1. Recordings of any officer injury.
    2. Recordings of any actor injury.
    3. Recording of any use of force incident.
    4. Recordings of any pursuit and actions taken after the pursuit.
    5. Recording of any citizen complaint

For the purposes of review, the term supervisor is limited to Sergeant, Sergeant First Class, Lieutenant or Director. OICs do not have access to Officer BWC footage. If there is an immediate need to review an officer’s footage, the OIC shall have the officer provide the footage and they shall review it together.

  1. Supervisors may review footage related to a specific incident or call for service in response to an allegation of a rule or policy violation.
  2. If a supervisor observes a serious violation during a review of BWC footage they will document the violation observed, ensure the recording is preserved and notify the Director or his/her designee.
  3. Supervisors may utilize the information from the recordings during the completion of performance evaluations.
  4. Supervisors and Field Training Officers may review BWC recordings involving probationary campus police officers for the sole purpose of evaluating the performance of the officer during their probationary period.
  5. Supervisors shall take appropriate administrative action if an officer is found to have failed to properly use or care for BWC equipment.
  6. In circumstances of an officer-involved shooting, in custody death or other incidents involving an officer that result in a person’s serious bodily injury or death, the supervisor shall be responsible for taking physical custody of the officer’s BWC and in this case, will ensure the data is downloaded, but shall only review the audio/video and the direction of the Director.

Contact Campus Safety

Campus Safety Office
Manor Northeast, Lobby (Mon. - Fri., 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Phone: 717.815.1403

Campus Information Center
Iosue Student Union, Room 201 (Mon. - Sun., 8 a.m. - 12 a.m.)
Phone: 717.815.1314 (or Press 0 from any on-campus phone)

Emergencies and After Hours
Call 911 for local police, EMS, or fire department.
Call 717.815.1314 for Campus Police.