Body-Worn Camera Program
Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD)
Introduction by Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Anzallo
The mission of the Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) is to protect Metro customers, personnel, transit facilities, and revenue by providing law enforcement and public safety services.
I am pleased to announce that MTPD is rolling out a new Body-Worn Camera Program, with full deployment to all officers complete in summer 2023. Our Body-Worn Camera Program will supplement the more than 20,000 cameras Metro has throughout our rail, bus, and paratransit system.
The use of body-worn cameras will help us further our mission to protect the public and enforce the law by recording enforcement activities in the line of duty. This includes actions, conditions, and statements that occur during encounters, traffic stops, detentions, and arrests.
Transparency is a top value for MTPD, and we are committed to every person's safety.
In your service, Chief Anzallo
The body-worn camera is a device with internal memory for storage of recorded audio and video. It is designed to be worn on outside clothing or otherwise secured to law enforcement or security officers.
As the program is rolled out at Metro, body-worn cameras will be attached to the outer garments of all MTPD police officers to capture a forward-facing view. Video and audio recording can then be initiated by the officer at any time and includes a prerecording feature. Recorded evidence is later downloaded to a secure police server for review by law enforcement investigators if needed.
There are many documented benefits of law enforcement using body-worn cameras, including case studies nationally and internationally that link body-worn cameras to reductions in crime, police-generated incidents, and assaults on police officers. Body-worn cameras are designed for the safety of the officer and the public.
Metro's body-worn camera policy (MTPD General Order 422) can be found here.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the MTPD Body-Worn Camera Program going to start?
Deployment of body-worn cameras for MTPD officers will begin in March 2023, and we expect all officers to be trained and have their new devices operational in summer 2023.
Who will wear the body-worn cameras?
MTPD members at the rank officer, sergeant, and lieutenant (and/or operational civilian equivalent) will be issued a body-worn camera and the camera will be worn when working in an operational assignment.
Can MTPD members use their personal cell phones to record incidents?
No. MTPD members are mandated to use the MTPD-issued body-worn cameras for recording police business or incidents involving the public.
Will MTPD members receive training prior to using the body-worn camera?
Prior to being issued a body-worn camera, MTPD members will be required to successfully complete training related to the operation of the device and MTPD policy around the Body-Worn Camera Program.
When will the MTPD members wear the body-worn camera?
Body-worn cameras are to be worn for the entire shift by MTPD public-facing police officers.
Will a person be made aware that they are being recorded?
MTPD officers are required to inform any person, absent exigent circumstances, at the start of any recording, that the audio and video of the situation is being recorded by the officer's body-worn camera.
Will members of the general public be able to view body-worn camera recordings?
External requests for recordings, other than from law enforcement agencies, shall be processed in accordance with Metro's Public Access to Records (PARP) policy. Any third party that is not a law-enforcement agency shall pay any and all costs associated with the preparation, review, and production of body-worn camera videos.
Will Metro release body-worn camera recording?
Requests for video records should be sent to Metro's Media Relations department at VideoRequest@wmata.com for handling in accordance with its business practices, and in accordance with MTPD General Order 422.
If you are also requesting non-video records, please submit a separate PARP request via email, mail, or facsimile (fax):
|By mail:||Office of General Counsel 7E
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
P.O. Box 44390
Washington, DC 20026-4390
Attention: PARP Administrator
|By fax:||(202) 962-2550|
Why is Metro implementing its Body-Worn Camera Program?
The BWC program will serve as a supplement to Metro's robust CCTV system. Body-worn cameras are an important tool for law enforcement agencies, with the added benefit of providing increased transparency in law enforcement-community interactions, while increasing public trust in policing. The mission of the MTPD is to protect customers, personnel, transit facilities, and revenue by providing law enforcement and public safety services. The Body-Worn Camera Program will be an important resource in helping MTPD fulfill that mission.
How much does the Body-Worn Camera Program cost WMATA?
Metro received an initial federal grant of over $900,000 to implement the Body-Worn Camera Program; it is anticipated that the program will cost approximately $7 million over the next five years, this includes hiring staff to support the project.
Will all MTPD officers have body-worn cameras?
Public-facing members of the rank of Lieutenant and below will be issued body-worn cameras.
What happens if MTPD officers do not activate their body-worn cameras as required by the policy?
There will be an initial grace period to allow officers to acquire the new habit of activating their body-worn cameras; after that, MTPD will investigate any failures to activate the cameras.
How long will MTPD keep recordings as part of the Body-Worn Camera Program?
Recordings will be maintained pursuant to the retention schedule outlined in Metro's new policy (MTPD General Order 422).
Will body-worn camera recordings start at the beginning of an officer's shift and last until the end of the shift?
No. Officers will not record during their entire shifts. Generally, they will activate their body-worn cameras for incidents, investigations, and arrests; they will also have some limited discretion to activate.
How many officers will undergo training for the Body-Worn Camera Program?
MTPD officers, sergeants and lieutenants will have mandatory training before being assigned a body-worn camera. At the start of the program, Metro expects 315 officers to be trained and equipped with body-worn cameras.
How long will the initial, mandatory training take for Metro's Body-Worn Camera Program?
The training will be provided in collaboration between the MTPD and the device manufacturer. The training lasts between 2-4 hours and covers both operation of the device, as well as Metro's policies around usage.