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The count: Police departments that allow people who filed police misconduct complaints to view body cam footage 


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A November scorecard from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and Upturn used eight criteria to examine the efficacy of police body-worn cameras in 75 cities. Only four police departments "expressly allow people who are filing police misconduct complaints to view all relevant footage," while only seven have limits on the use of facial recognition technology, and more than a third don't make the material publicly available. No department required officers to write incident reports before watching their footage.

  The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) received a $237,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice in 2015 for police body cams. The scorecard found that NOPD is required to record a broad range of incidents and must seek supervisory approval before turning the camera off. NOPD also is among departments that do not expressly allow people filing complaints to review footage.

  "If body-worn cameras are to help to drive consistency, fairness, and justice, it's imperative for all police departments with camera systems to prohibit unrestricted footage review by officers," the report says. The scorecard also included the report "The Illusion of Accuracy: How Body-Worn Camera Footage Can Distort Evidence," which argues why police departments must limit officers' review of body-worn camera footage. Find a copy of the report at

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated NOPD's policy for responding to officers' failure to record. Its policy is available here.


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