Implementing a body worn camera program is a great first step to improving a law enforcement agency, but it's just a start. Conducting audits gives agencies visibility into
officer performance and shows a commitment to transparency, accountability, and continuous improvement, and should be a part of any BWC program.
Why are BWC audits important?
Audits are a natural evolution for an organization once they implement body worn cameras
A lot of data is captured on BWCs but without looking at them, the opportunity to recognize good work, along with teachable moments, can be missed
Audits provide the opportunity to show external stakeholders that the agency is committed to improvement and holding themselves accountable
Chief Thompson described his agency's practice for conduction BWC audits, with the caveat that this is what works for his agency and may not apply to others:
Audits need to have an element of randomization so that the officer didn't know which of their videos was going to be reviewed
Audits are conducted by the officer's sergeant, lieutenants also review the recordings of the sergeant as well as checking the officers' videos they audited
Sergeants memorialize the results of the audit
Audit information is included in every officer's performance evaluation
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Important things to look for when conducting an audit:
Was the officer courteous and professional? Did the officer's conduct align with the agency's core values and community expectations?
Was the incident handled properly and in compliance with departmental policy? Are there issues that need to be formally addressed or escalated?
Any issues that need to be addressed through training? Was there a teachable moment during this incident that will improve performance on the next one?
Any exceptional performance or award recommendation? Is there something that needs to be celebrated?
Why is it important for an agency to document their audits?
Documentation is the key to accountability and demonstrating that audits are being conducted
With documentation, audit results can be aggregated and training needs can be identified
It provides the ability to report out to stakeholders on the health of the agency
Truleo's automated review and analysis platform gives agencies the ability to have all their body worn camera data analyzed at scale, solving the problem of having to dedicate valuable human resources to the task. By surfacing incidents important to the agency, we take the randomness out of audits and highlight those interactions that are worthy of attention.