You can submit your written comments on police body-worn cameras now…Written comments from the public will be received by the Attorney General and the State police until September 24, 2021. The final decisions about the use of police worn body cameras in Rhode Island will be made entirely by law enforcement – the Attorney General, the Rhode Island State Police and Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association – with the public only being allowed to comment.
Published on August 31, 2021
By Steve Ahlquist
Attorney General Peter Neronha and Colonel James Manni, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of Public Safety, announced the start of a months-long public process for establishing a statewide policy for the use and operation of police body-worn cameras.
The statewide policies will address when an officer should activate or deactivate a camera, how an officer should notify the public about recording, what types of privacy protections should be put in place, and more.
The final decisions about the use of police body-worn cameras in Rhode Island will be made entirely by law enforcement – the Attorney General, the Rhode Island State Police and Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association – with the public only being allowed to comment.
UpriseRI is very interested in public opinion regarding police body-worn cameras, and plans to publish some of the written comments. Written comments can also easily be turned into oped for publication. If interested in having your comments posted on UprieRI, email them here.
Written comments from the public will be received by the Attorney General and the State police until September 24, 2021, by email or mail to the appropriate parties at the addresses listed below:
Office of the Attorney General
150 South Main Street
Providence, RI 02903
Department of Public Safety
311 Danielson Pike
North Scituate, RI 02857
During the initial gathering phase of public input, Attorney General Neronha and Colonel Manni will also host a public meeting, at a date to be announced.
For more information, see: State leaders all-in on police body-worn cameras
In July, Rhode Island enacted a statewide program that aims to equip every frontline police officer and supervisor with body-worn cameras. As part of the program, the Attorney General and Director of the Department of Public Safety, in consultation with the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association (RIPCA), are tasked with promulgating rules and regulations to create a statewide policy for the use and operation of body-worn cameras that participating departments will be required to adopt.
Today’s announcement, says the press release, marks the start of the initial policy-making process in which the Attorney General and the Director of the Department of Public Safety will gather relevant information and input from the public.
“The enactment earlier this summer of a statewide body-worn camera program to equip all police officers marked a significant step forward for Rhode Island, but there remains significant work regarding implementation of that program,” said Attorney General Neronha. “Obtaining public input prior to the creation and adoption of statewide policies governing all matters related to body camera use will ensure that the cameras are used effectively and help police departments align with community expectations. That is why we are seeking input from a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that our statewide policies truly are best practices.”
“As we enter this initial phase of drafting and promulgating a statewide body-worn camera policy, it is vitally important that we receive input from any interested party,” said Colonel Manni. “This open and transparent process will allow us to consider every opinion before putting pen to paper. I look forward to working with any interested party that shares the same common goal of drafting the best model policy that will enhance the public safety of the citizens of this state for years to come.”
“The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association is proud to support the broad, long-term implementation of a body-worn camera program throughout the state,” said RIPCA Executive Director Sidney Wordell. “Body-worn cameras improve accountability, transparency and professionalism; they work to increase police training opportunities, expedite the truthful resolution of police misconduct complaints, and promote public trust. We are grateful to our elected leaders for their support of this program, and we look forward to working with our partners in the State and with community stakeholders on making sure this program is equitable, impactful and sustainable.”
Following the initial gathering of public input, the Attorney General and the Director of the Department of Public Safety will promulgate draft rules establishing the policy, at which point the public process will continue and include public hearings and additional opportunities for public input.
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