ABERDEEN, Md. (WJZ) — The Aberdeen Police Department will begin phasing in body-worn cameras for its officers.

The three-phase process will begin on Aug. 26, when body-worn cameras will be issued to two patrol squads to test. Phase 2 will begin on Sept. 3 when the remaining squads will receive their body-worn cameras. Phase 3 is when Detectives, School Resource Officers, and the Special Operations Unit will be equipped with the cameras.

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Officers will record encounters for the following reasons:

  • At the initiation of a call for service or other activity that is enforcement or investigative
  • All enforcement and investigation related citizen contacts
  • Documentation of evidence that can be used in the prosecution of criminal and traffic offenses
  • Arrests and transports
  • Traffic stops
  • Priority responses
  • Vehicle and foot pursuits
  • Suspicious situations
  • All searches (persons, vehicles, structures, effects), except strip searches
  • Interviews and interrogations
  • Mental health interventions
  • Any contact that becomes adversarial after the initial contact, in a situation that would not otherwise require recording

Officers will notify people that they are recording, but they do not need consent or permission from the public to begin a recording.

Each encounter will be recorded for the duration of the event and will only turn off the body-worn camera under the following circumstances:

  • The officer has left the scene and anticipates no further involvement in the event
  • A supervisor has authorized that a recording may cease
  • The officer is no longer engaged in a related investigative or enforcement activity
  • The officer is entering an allied agency’s facility whose policy requires deactivation of the camera
  • The event has concluded
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An officer may review a body-camera recording for any work-related reason, including but not limited to:

  • Ensuring the Body Camera system is working properly
  • Assisting with the writing of a report or other official document
  • Reviewing and critiquing the officer’s own performance
  • Preparing for court
  • Responding to a civil suit, criminal investigation (if the officer is the subject of the investigation), citizen complaint, or administrative complaint
  • The officer shall have the ability to review the officer’s Body Camera recording of the subject incident prior to making a statement

The Records Section will release to the public or through subpoenas and summonses Body Camera recordings, according to the Public Information Act.

The Aberdeen Police Department will retain body-worn video footage based on the following retention schedule:

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Description Retention
Uncategorized Until Manually Deleted
1.Non-Evidentiary 550 days
2.Evidentiary/Report 5 years
3.Arrest 7 years
4.DUI/DWI 7 years
5.Use of Force 7 years
HCMST Operations 5 years
Homicide 90 years
Pending Review Until manually deleted
Photos Until manually deleted
Restricted Until manually deleted
Taser Weapon Logs 3 years
Training 3 years
Uploaded Media 10 Days