ALXNow: New Report Outlines Scope of Body Worn Camera Program in Alexandria

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by | November 24, 2020

From Vernon Miles at ALXNow, regarding a potential Body Worn Camera (BWC) program in Alexandria:

The report acknowledges …that Alexandria is one of the few jurisdictions in the area that doesn’t have a body worn camera program either implemented or in the works. Fairfax County Police Department implemented body worn cameras earlier this year — and within the year an officer was charged with assault and battery after being caught on camera assaulting a black man — and the Arlington County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office are both scheduled to start a body worn camera program in 2021.

The report said Alexandria plans to eventually implement body worn cameras. The Alexandria Police Department would require a total of 325 body worn cameras, while the Sheriff’s Office would require 175 and the Alexandria Fire Department would need seven. As noted earlier in the report, the cameras also come with an increased cost for data storage and staffing. The report outlines a program that would phase-in body worn cameras to offset the upfront cost.

BWC programs are becoming more and more popular in the Commonwealth and elsewhere. But while there are benefits to citizens and officers in full transparency and accountability, there are also tremendous costs. The cameras themselves are but a small fraction of the overall cost of implementing a BWC program, and as other localities implement, learn, and adapt, Northern Virginia localities like Alexandria will need to do the same. Any locality that wants to implement BWC program has to factor in the costs not just of the equipment, but of training, storage of incredible amounts of data, licensing agreements, and additional Commonwealth’s Attorneys and staff to review the increasing amount of footage.

A successful BWC program also has to factor in accountability for officers in keeping their cameras turned on at appropriate times, while balancing the need not just for privacy of citizens and victims, but of officers themselves.

Our Criminal Defense Attorneys are ready to work with Body-Cam footage in any Northern Virginia Jurisdiction where it is available, and will review any and all available evidence so that we can best defend your Virginia criminal case.

Contact Us today to learn more.