. The University of Texas home page
UTPD logo
Title Operations / Policy A-7
Effective Date 07-15-08
Rescinds 12-19-05
Subject Mobile Video/Audio Recording Equipment
Purpose To provide guidelines for the use of mobile video/audio recording equipment.
Scope This directive applies to commissioned officers.
Reference  
CALEA Chapter 41

Mobile video/audio recording equipment has been demonstrated to be of value in the prosecution of traffic violations and related offenses, in evaluation of officer performance as well as in training. In order to maximize the utility of this equipment in these and related areas, officers shall follow the procedures for mobile audio/video recording equipment use as set forth in this policy.

  1. Program Objectives:
    1. This agency has adopted the use of in-car video/audio recording systems in order to accomplish several objectives, including:
      1. Accurate documentation of events, actions, conditions, and statements made during arrests and critical incidents, so as to enhance officer reports, collection of evidence and testimony in court.
      2. The enhancement of this agency’s ability to review probable cause for arrest, arrest procedures, officer and suspect interaction and evidence for investigative purposes, as well as for officer evaluation and training.
  2. Operating Procedure:
    1. Officers will be trained in the use of the equipment prior to use.
    2. This agency uses digital video / audio recording systems in patrol vehicles. Microphones will be assigned to each vehicle. Additional microphones will be available in the Commander’s area.
    3. Prior to each shift, officers will determine whether the mobile video/audio recording equipment and wireless microphone are working properly. Any problems with the equipment will immediately be reported to a supervisor and then to the System Administrator.
    4. Mobile video/audio recording equipment will automatically activate when the vehicle’s emergency warning devices are in operation. The equipment may also be activated manually. The equipment may be manually deactivated during non-enforcement activities; however, when possible all citizen contacts will be recorded.
    5. Officers will ensure that the equipment is operating in order to record traffic stops or other enforcement actions. In doing so they will ensure that:
      1. The video camera is positioned and adjusted to record events.
      2. The video/audio recorder is not deactivated until the enforcement action is completed.
      3. The wireless microphone is activated in order to provide narration with the video recording.
    6. When possible, officers should also use the video/audio recorder to document:
      1. The actions of suspects if the recording would prove useful in later judicial proceedings.
      2. The circumstances at crime and accident scenes or other events such as the confiscation and documentation of evidence or contraband.
    7. Officers will not alter video/audio recording media. Officers will not attach any device to the system.
    8. All media will be properly identified and labeled prior to being submitted as evidence or being submitted for storage.
    9. Officers will inform a supervisor of any media sequence that may be of value for evidentiary training purposes.
    10. Officers will note in incident, arrest and related reports when video/audio recordings were made during the incident in question.
    11. Officers are encouraged to review their own videos periodically for training purposes. They should also use the audio system as a note taking source and review videos when writing reports. However, after any type of critical incident, Officers shall not review videos prior to making a statement.
  3. Recording Media Control and Management:
    1. Video/audio recordings containing information that may be of value for case prosecution or in any criminal or civil proceeding shall be handled and safeguarded as other forms of evidence. This media will:
      1. Be subject to the same security restrictions and chain of evidence safeguards as detailed in this agency’s evidence control procedure.
      2. Not be released to another criminal justice agency for trial or other reasons without having a duplicate copy made and returned to safe storage.
      3. Not be released to other than bona fide criminal justice agencies without prior approval of the Chief of Police.
    2. Digital media will be stored in the UTPD computer system for a minimum of 90 days.
    3. All media will be marked in a manner that allows efficient identification and retrieval. Digital recordings will be marked with the offense number or subject’s name.
    4. Night shift commander or his designee will be responsible for the making of DVDs for evidentiary purposes. Two copies of DVDs will be marked and handled as evidence and a supplement will be written.
  4. Supervisor Responsibilities:
    1. Each officer will upload digital recordings from their patrol vehicle once per shift.
    2. Digital System Administrator will check out the mobile hard drives as necessary.
    3. At least once every 30 days, supervisors will review recordings to assist in periodic assessment of officer performance, to determine whether video/audio recording equipment is being fully and properly used and to identify material that may be appropriate for training.
    4. Supervisors will ensure that damaged or non-functional video/audio recording equipment is promptly reported to the Digital System Administrator.