Starting today, the New York City Police Department invites individuals and organizations to share their views on its proposed body-worn camera policy by accessing a brief questionnaire and online comment portal at www.nypdbodycameras.org. The site will be accessible until midnight July 31, 2016.
This fall, the NYPD will launch a 1,000-camera pilot program, as ordered by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in Floyd v. City of New York. To ensure the program responds to the interests and concerns of the communities it serves, the NYPD is seeking public input on how the cameras should be used.
The NYPD has asked the Policing Project at New York University School of Law to assist the department in gathering public feedback. The proposed policy is now available online, along with a brief policy fact sheet highlighting its main points.
To ensure broad-based engagement, the Policing Project has designed a brief questionnaire anyone can take in order to share views on key policy questions. Any organizations or individuals who also wish to upload additional written comments can do so by using the online comment portal.
At the end of the public input process, the Policing Project will prepare a report for the NYPD summarizing all of the feedback received. Next, the NYPD will prepare a public response, explaining how the department adjusted its policy in response to the feedback it received, and why. The proposed policy then will be submitted by the NYPD to the federal monitor and the court for approval.
In seeking public comment on its body-worn camera policy, the NYPD is embracing one of the core recommendations of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing—for police departments to engage with their communities around policies and priorities for policing, including the adoption of new technologies. This has the potential to be the largest such effort by a police department seeking public input on a proposed policy.
At the same time as the Policing Project is collecting public input, the Marron Institute of Urban Management at New York University will be collecting similar feedback from the NYPD’s officers, also through an online questionnaire.
The Policing Project works to promote the application of democratic engagement techniques to policing, advocates bringing sound cost-benefit analysis to bear on policing practices, and is involved in a variety of efforts around the country to promote police department engagement with the public over matters of policy.
Policing Project Director Barry Friedman stated: “We commend the NYPD’s extraordinary initiative to solicit feedback from the New Yorkers who will be affected by this new technology, and we are honored to participate in this crucial conversation between the department and the public. This project is groundbreaking in its scope, and can serve as a model for other police departments throughout the country. If the NYPD can solicit public comment in this way, every department can.”