BRPD announces new video release policy for officer involved incidents

BRPD announces new video release policy for officer involved incidents
Updated: Aug. 20, 2018 at 6:25 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Baton Rouge Police Department has announced the creation of their new Critical Incident Video Release Policy.

BRPD defines a Critical Incident as "an event in which an officer uses force resulting in hospitalization or death, an officer intentionally shoots his or her gun at a person(s), an officer strikes someone in the head with an impact weapon (whether intentional or not), a police vehicle pursuit results in death of an injury of a person(s) requiring hospitalization, or an arrested or detained subject dies while in the custody of the police department."

Chief Murphy Paul says under the new policy, the chief of police is required to make a decision about releasing video within 12 days of the incident in question. Once the chief decides the release of video will not interfere with the integrity of the investigation and/or prosecution, BRPD will then release video as soon as possible. BRPD says the grace period between the incident and video release is meant to ensure witnesses will not be placed in danger and that prosecutions will not be undermined.

RECENT OFFICER-INVOLVED INCIDENTS IN BATON ROUGE:

"Public interest in use of force incidents involving law enforcement officers is at an all-time high. This is partly due to activism and protests when public perception is that an excessive level of force was used by law enforcement. It is also a result of the instantaneous exchange of information through various social media networks. As a result, the law enforcement community must respond to the rapidly changing media landscape that drives communication and public perception in the 21st century," said Paul.

BRPD says they recognize that video evidence provides an incomplete, but essential view of these critical incidents involving officers. Videos also provide the public with a better understanding of police work. BRPD hopes releasing video footage in a timely manner, when possible, will enhance public trust in law enforcement.

"Transparency is essential in policing today. The public's expectations of law enforcement have evolved, and it is our duty to respond to their concerns. Our new policy demonstrates that the Baton Rouge Police Department is a law enforcement agency committed to accountability and constant improvement," Paul said.

The full policy from BRPD can be read below. BRPD officials say the policy was written back in April, but was not distributed to officers until Monday, August 13. The policy went into effect then.

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