RCPD Seeking Public Input On Body Camera Policy

Dec 7, 2017

Credit Rapid City Police Department

The Rapid City Police department is seeking public input on its proposed body worn camera policy.

The RCPD and Pennington County Sheriff’s department were awarded at $300,000 matching grant to implement the program.

The five page policy report takes about ten minutes to read.

It’s the culmination of 5 years of research into implementing a body worn camera policy for Rapid City and Pennington County law enforcement.

Jennie Clabo is the technology and records manager with Rapid City police.

Clabo says video wont be released to the public except on very rare occasions.

“We might need help identifying something. Kind of like we do now with our in-car videos. We won’t release it just because someone is curious and wants the video. The court system will have access to this, we will be giving it to judges—we’ll be completely transparent in that way,” Clabo says. “Just the privacy issues that come with people being on video, and as much as some people think that everyone wants it to be out there, most people don’t.”

She says one of the more important aspects of the policy is how much video is captured before a recorder is turned on. As well as officer explanations for turning the camera off.

Libby Skarin is the policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union in South Dakota.

She says the big clamor for body cameras in the last five years have arisen from intense incidents where there’s been violence or shootings.

“It’s important for body cameras and footage to set the right balance between privacy and transparency. Public access is tricky, but there are situations where it’s very clear the public interest very heavily weights in favor of releasing that footage," Skarin says. "Videos of public importance, such as those of a shooting or serious use of force, something of that nature, should be made public.”

Skarin says videos that contain private footage, such as inside someone’s home, should remain private. She says the ACLU also believes anyone who is video recorded should have access to that video.

RCPD is soliciting public input until December 15.

To read the RCPD body worn camera policy, click here.