Professor Friedman Speaking in Camden

The Policing Project partnered with the Camden County Police Department (CCPD) to solicit community input on the department’s body-worn camera policy. (Read the report here.)

The CCPD currently is in the process of implementing its body-worn camera program. To ensure that its body-worn camera policy is consistent with the values and interests of Camden residents, the Chief of Police, Scott Thomson, invited the Policing Project to assist the department in engaging the community around what its policy should be.

Working closely with Mayor Dana Redd and the CCPD, we designed a comprehensive feedback process with multiple opportunities for participation:

  • We posted a draft body-worn camera policy on the CCPD website and created a portal where interested individuals and organizations could submit written comments.
  • We created an online questionnaire to give residents an opportunity to weigh in without reading the policy in full. The questionnaire asked residents a series of questions designed to get their views on the key issues of public concern, including when cameras are turned on and off, when officers must notify residents that a camera is recording, and when footage ought to be made available to the public.
  • We helped facilitate two community forums to provide an opportunity for direct police-community engagement.
  • We conducted focus groups with two groups of CCPD officers who had been using body-worn cameras during an initial pilot phase, to learn from their experience with cameras thus far.

In response to the public feedback, the CCPD made a number of changes to its body-worn camera policy, including on activation, notification, and public access. The Policing Project then worked with the CCPD to produce a report that summarizes the community feedback, and explains how that feedback is reflected in the CCPD’s revised body-worn camera policy, or why the department thought it advisable to proceed otherwise.

We currently are in the planning stages of additional police-community engagement projects with the CCPD, and look forward to continuing to work with the Department to strengthen police-community relations by giving residents a say in how their police department operates.

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