In March, 2017, the Lynchburg Police Department fully implemented the “Body Worn Camera” (BWC) program and in conjunction with that program, the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office had adopted the position of “Body Worn Camera Assistant” to act as a liaison between the two. The “Body Worn Camera Assistant” reviews videos involving arrests by Lynchburg Police Officers, looking for, and documenting, any evidence of crimes that were committed, and forwarding this evidence to the Prosecuting Attorneys, to help bolster these cases and increase the number of convictions in Court.
The AXON (formerly TASER) company provided the body cameras for the LPD and officers were fully trained in their use before being deployed. Given the current climate, public support for police body cameras is at its highest. A recent Cato/YouGov national survey found that 92 percent of Americans support requiring police officers to wear body cameras that record video of their interactions, and 55 percent would be willing to pay higher taxes to outfit their local police department with these devices. The results of wearing body cameras are just as positive and have been proven to decrease police use of force, the number of DUI cases, court overtime, external and false complaints, and response to resistance. Body cameras also increase cost savings for agencies, enhance public trust and create safer communities at a lower cost.
During the last couple of years, the Department of Justice has also increased its support to further assist law enforcement in the implementation of body-worn camera programs by providing additional funding to agencies. Looking forward, state legislators are working to quickly refine the legal framework surrounding body-worn cameras to both enhance transparency and help safeguard the privacy of people captured on camera, including children, witnesses and bystanders.
The benefits of sharing body camera data with prosecutors have been clear. For example, in DUI cases with video, attorneys identified the footage as an important factor in the resolution of the case. The body camera provides a secure chain of custody for uploading, storing and transferring all this digital evidence through Cloud-based software and technology. Police Officers are also issued, and are able to use, cellphones for taking still photos at crime scenes and uploading these photos to the case files through this program as well using the AXON apps.
Tom Adams, Body Worn Camera Assistant
(434) 846-5038 (FAX)
Defense Attorney Instructions
For obtaining “Electronic Discovery Release Forms” (EDRF) for the release of Body Worn Camera (BWC) video(s) and photos:
- Choose the appropriate form for the individual Court.
*Note: J & D Court has an ADULT and a JUVENILE form, please select the correct one.
- Download the form(s) needed.
- Using the downloaded, fillable PDF form(s), fill in all the information you have available, except for the “OCA BWC USE ONLY” box in the lower left-hand corner of the form. The signature can be computer generated.
- Once the form(s) is completed, click on one of the two colorized buttons at the bottom of each form to:
|PRINT & FAX to 434-847-5038 – which will send the form to your printer to print and then it can be manually faxed. You can also set up this button to send the form directly to a computer-based fax instead of a printer. Please note: If you fax your request, you MUST supply an email address that can be used for further communication(s) and link(s) for video(s)|
SUBMIT via EMAIL- email@example.com – which will send the form to your email account (needs to be set up to be directed to an account) to be emailed to the BWC office.
- Once your request is received, it will be fulfilled as soon as possible. PLEASE PROVIDE AMPLE TIME PRIOR TO YOUR CLIENT’S COURT DATE WHEN REQUESTING BWC VIDEO(S).
- Once fulfilled, you will receive an email from AXON for each video in the case file along with a link to view the video. First time users of the AXON system will receive an email link to register for an AXON account. An account is needed to receive and view video(s) in this case and any future cases involving BWC. After registering, you will be asked to “log-in” and provide your “password”. Video(s) can be viewed for a specified amount of time depending on the estimated length of the Court case. If more time is needed, an extension can be given by contacting the BWC office. Once the Court case is disposed of and the video(s) are no longer needed, viewing rights will be revoked.
*Please pay attention to the stipulations outlined on the EDRF, as NO copies of BWC video(s) are to be made, nor are videos allowed to leave your possession or control. You have the right to share and show the contents of these videos with your client, but you cannot give your client these materials in whole or in part. Due to the length, sensitive nature and the security of the BWC videos, if your client is incarcerated, you will need to obtain a “Transportation Order” for your client to the Courthouse, where they can be secured in a private room to view the BWC videos on an electronic device of your choosing (cell phone, tablet or laptop, etc) through the links provided to you from the email from AXON.