Critical Incidents & Effective Release of BWC Video

I encourage all police leaders, PIOs, legal counsels and Body-Worn Camera managers to read this excellent article by Arif Alikhan in the March issue of Police Chief magazine. It is a primer on the importance of developing an effective process for releasing video evidence, especially BWC video, following a critical incident. This process should be worked out long before the first BWC is deployed. Inaction, resistance, or poor execution could have significant impacts for an agency. Unfortunately, this continues to occur all too frequently. The political and legal entities in the decision making process can be hesitant to support a release. The Chief or Sheriff is left to face the media and community and explain why there won’t be a release. Larger agencies like LVMPD and LAPD have learned the value of a timely, coherent, consistent, and deliberate process for release of information following a critical incident. Development and implementation of a process can’t be left to the last minute. Gather together all the parties involved in a decision to release. Deliberate then decide. Establish a process. Let the media and community know what that is. Then execute. Failure to do so could be devastating.