Re-Know Minute: Body Cameras

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Over the past year, you may have noticed a new accessory on our Reno Police. Positioned on the front of officers’ chests, body cameras record all interactions between an officer and the public. Introduced as Senate Bill 176 during Nevada’s 79th Legislative Session, the use of body cameras is now a requirement among all “uniformed peace officers who routinely interact with the public.” City of Sparks, City of Reno, and Washoe County worked together to decide on the specific camera technology they wanted to use in our region, ensuring consistency among the jurisdictions.

City of Reno police officers are assigned a camera that they wear when they are on a shift. The cameras are always on but are not actively recording. The officer is responsible for turning on the camera before an interaction with the public and can then turn the camera off after the interaction has ended. For instance, an officer would turn a camera on before a traffic stop and turn it off after the traffic stop is complete. The camera also has the ability to recall video 30 seconds before the officer initiated recording. Upon finishing the shift, the officer places the camera in a docking station where the recording is downloaded and saved. All videos are kept for at least 15 days, and some videos are kept longer depending on the statute of limitation for what is captured in the video. Officers can view the footage, but they aren’t able to edit or cut any video, meaning there is no ability to tamper what is captured.

The general public also has the ability to view the video by requesting a public records request to view a specific date and time of footage. They can then watch the video in a viewing room at the Reno Police Department. If a complaint is filed regarding the video, it will be maintained and saved until all court procedures are completed.

Many feel that the use of body cameras will positively influence the relationship between the Reno community and RPD. Reno Police Chief Jason Soto stated, “I think it will bring a new level of trust and a better level of trust between our community than we already have by just having that video and that transparency.” These feelings are shared throughout the county, state and nation as communities are increasingly using body cameras to protect both their peace officers and their residents.

If you have additional concerns or questions about body cameras, you can contact Reno Direct at renodirect@reno.gov or by calling 775-334-4636 (INFO).

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