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Lynn Police Dept - 300 Washington Street Lynn, Massachusetts 01902

Body Worn Camera Policy


The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the proper use, management, storage, and retrieval of video and audio data recorded by Body Worn Cameras (BWCs). BWCs are effective law enforcement tools that reinforce the public’s perception of police professionalism and preserve factual representations of officer-civilian interactions. BWCs may be useful in documenting crime and accident scenes, or other events that include the confiscation and documentation of incidental evidence or contraband. The equipment will enhance the Department’s ability to document and review statements and events during the course of an incident, preserve video footage, audio information and evidence for investigative and prosecutorial purposes. BWC recordings, however, provide limited perspective of encounters or incidents and must be considered with all other available evidence, such as witness statements, officer interviews, forensic analysis and documentary evidence.  Additionally, studies have shown that BWCs are a contributing factor in reducing complaints against police officers, increasing police accountability, and enhancing public trust. 

 It is the policy of the Department to respect the legitimate privacy interests of all persons while ensuring professionalism in its workforce. Officers shall only use BWCs within the context of existing and applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and Department rules and policies. The Department prohibits recording civilians based solely upon the civilian’s political or religious beliefs or upon the exercise of the civilian’s constitutional rights, including but not limited to freedom of speech, religious expression, and lawful petition and assembly. BWC footage shall not be reviewed to identify the presence of individual participants at such events who are not engaged in unlawful conduct.  BWCs will not include technological enhancements including, but not limited to, facial recognition or night-vision capabilities. 

When performing any patrol function, as determined by the Chief of Police, officers must wear and activate BWCs according to Department policy. 



Prior to being issued a BWC, officers shall successfully complete Department approved training related to this policy as well as the activation, use, categorization, and uploading of data. All department personnel who may supervise officers wearing BWCs or will require access to review videos shall also attend Department-approved training. 


Officers will activate the BWC only in conjunction with official law enforcement duties, where such use is appropriate to the proper performance of duties, and where the recordings are consistent with this policy and the law. As in all law enforcement and investigative activities, the safety of officers and members of the public are the highest priority. If an immediate threat to the officer’s life or safety makes BWC activation dangerous, then the officer shall activate the BWC at the first reasonable opportunity to do so. Once activated, the officer shall not deactivate the BWC until the encounter has fully concluded and/or the officer leaves the scene (see Section 2.8, BWC Deactivation). Officers shall record all contact with civilians in the following occurrences unless the decision to stop recording is made pursuant to Section 2.6 and 2.7: 

  1. Vehicle Stops 
  2. Investigative person stops: consensual or articulable reasonable suspicion stops, as well as FIOs, or stops supported by probable cause; 
  3. All dispatched calls for service involving contact with civilians; 
  4. Initial responses by patrol officers, including on-site detentions, investigations pursuant to an arrest, arrests, and initial suspect interviews on-scene; 
  5. Transport of prisoners; 
  6. Pat frisks and searches of persons incident to arrest (if not already activated); 
  7. Incidents of Emergency Driving; 
  8. Incidents of Pursuit Driving; 
  9. When an officer reasonably believes a crowd control incident may result in unlawful activity; 
  10. Any contact that becomes adversarial, including a Use of Force incident, when the officer has not already activated the BWC; or 
  11. Any other civilian contact or official duty that the officer reasonably believes should be recorded to enhance policing transparency, increase public trust and police-community relations, or preserve factual representations of officer-civilian interactions, provided that recording is consistent with Sections 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 4.1 and 4.2 of this policy. 

If an officer fails to activate the BWC, fails to record the entire contact, or interrupts the recording, the officer shall document in an incident report that a recording failure occurred. If an officer fails to activate the BWC, fails to record the entire contact, or interrupts the recording, and does not document it in an incident report, the officer shall notify his/her Division Commanding Officer that a recording failure occurred and submit a BWC Special Notification Form under the “Non-Recording of Interaction” category.[1]


Upon entering a private residence without a warrant or in non-exigent circumstances, the officer shall notify occupants they are being recorded. When determining whether or not to record, the officer shall be guided by the safety of all person(s) present, and weigh the discretionary factors referenced in Section 2.4 with the fact that a home is a uniquely private location. If the officer turns off the recording per occupant request, that officer should notify operations by radio that the incident is no longer being recorded by request, if possible. Officers recording in a residence shall be mindful not to record beyond what is necessary to the civilian contact, and shall not use the BWC with exploratory intent to create an inventory of items in the residence. 

If an officer uses his/her discretion to turn off the BWC, the officer shall document this action in the incident report. If the officer does not create an incident report, the officer shall notify his/her Division Commanding Officer that a recording was stopped pursuant to their discretion and submit a BWC Special Notification Form under the “Discretionary Deactivation” category by the end of the shift or as soon as practical.


Officers should be mindful of locations where recording may be considered insensitive or inappropriate. Such locations may include locker rooms, places of worship, religious ceremonies, certain locations in hospitals or clinics, law offices, and daycare facilities.  At such locations, at the officer’s discretion and based on the circumstances, the officer may turn off the BWC. The officer may also consider diverting the BWC away from any subjects and recording only audio, if appropriate. When exercising discretion in such situations, the officer should generally base his/her decision to stop recording, divert the BWC, or record only audio on the following BWC Discretionary Recording Considerations.  The officer must be able to articulate the reason for his/her decision to exercise discretion. 

BWC Discretionary Recording Considerations include, but are not limited to: the sensitive or private nature of the activities or circumstances observed; the presence of individuals who are not the subject of the officer-civilian interaction; the presence of people who appear to be minors; any request by a civilian to stop recording; and the extent to which absence of BWC recording will affect the investigation. 

If an officer uses his/her discretion to turn off the BWC, the officer shall document this action in the incident report. If the officer does not create an incident report, the officer shall notify his/her Division Commanding Officer that a recording was stopped pursuant to their discretion and submit a BWC Special Notification Form under the “Discretionary Deactivation” category by the end of the shift or as soon as practical.


The officer shall make a reasonable effort to inform civilians that the officer is recording them unless an immediate threat to the officer’s life or safety, or the life safety of any other person makes BWC notification dangerous. Officers shall notify civilians with language such as “I am advising you that I am recording our interaction with my Body Worn Camera.” Officers shall not record civilians surreptitiously. 


Officers do not have to obtain consent to record. If a civilian requests the officer stop recording, the officer(s) has no obligation to stop recording if the officer is recording an occurrence identified in Section 2.2. When evaluating whether to stop recording, officers should weigh the BWC Discretionary Recording Considerations `identified in Section 2.4. Officers should record the request to turn the BWC off and the officer’s response to that request, if possible. 

If an officer deactivates a BWC in response to a civilian request, the officer shall also indicate the request in an incident report. If an officer deactivates a BWC in response to a civilian request and does not create an incident report, the officer shall notify his/her Division Commanding Officer that a recording was stopped pursuant to a civilian request and submit a BWC Special Notification Form under the “Deactivation per Civilian Request” category by the end of the shift or as soon as practical. 


If an officer’s BWC would capture a visual or audio recording of a victim or witness who is giving his/her first account of a crime, the officer may record the encounter but should weigh the BWC Discretionary Recording Considerations specified in Section 2.4 in determining whether to activate or discontinue audio and/or video recording.  If the officer decides to activate and/or continue audio and/or video recording, the officer shall make the notification specified in Section 2.5. If the victim is in any way unsure of the need for the recording or is uncomfortable with the thought of being recorded, the officer shall inform the civilian that the civilian may request to have the BWC turned off. If the camera is already activated, the officer should record the request to turn the BWC off and the officer’s response, if possible.  The officer shall notify his/her Division Commanding Officer that a recording was stopped pursuant to a civilian request and submit a BWC Special Notification Form under the “Deactivation per Civilian Request” category by the end of the shift or as soon as practical.


To the extent possible, prior to deactivating a BWC, the officer shall state the reason for doing so. Generally, once the officer activates the BWC, the officer will continue recording until the event has concluded. Below are some non-exhaustive examples of when deactivation may be permissible: 

  1. The officer has concluded the interaction; 
  2. All persons stopped have been released or left the scene, or an arrestee has arrived at the station for booking. If a transporting officer has a BWC, that officer shall continue recording until the transporting officer arrives inside the station at the booking desk; 
  3. The event is sensitive, the officer has weighed the BWC Discretionary Recording Considerations specified in Section 2.4, and has decided to deactivate the BWC; 
  4. The incident has concluded prior to the arrival of the officer; 
  5. A supervisor orders the officer to turn the camera off. 


Sec. 3.1 Officer Responsibility: BWC equipment is the responsibility of every officer issued the equipment. Officers must use the equipment with reasonable care to ensure proper functioning. Officers shall inform their Division Commanding Officer as soon as possible of equipment malfunctions or the loss of a BWC so that they can procure a replacement unit. 

 Police officers shall use only BWCs issued by this Department. The BWC equipment and all data, images, video recordings, audio recordings, and metadata captured, recorded, or otherwise produced by the equipment is the sole property of the Department and shall not be released without the authorization of the Chief of Police or his/her designee. 

  1. At the beginning of each shift, the officer will: 
  2.  Ensure that the issued equipment has a fully charged battery and is functioning properly; and 
  3. Ensure that the BWC does not contain data from a prior shift; and 
  4.  Notify the Division Commanding Officer whenever there is a malfunction or damage to the BWC. 
  5. During each shift, the officer shall: 
  6.  Affix his/her BWC properly upon his/her uniform in a manner consistent with training; 
  7. Position and adjust the BWC to record events; 
  8.  Position and adjust the BWC microphone to ensure that it is unobstructed; 
  9. Activate the BWC and record as outlined in Section 2 above; 
  10.  Document the existence of a BWC recording in all of the appropriate documents, i.e. 

Incident Report, Citation, FIO, Administrative Reports; 

  1. Notify investigative or specialized unit personnel existence of BWC recording; and 
  2.  Document in the incident report the circumstances and reasons if he/she fails to activate the BWC, fails to record the entire contact, interrupts the recording, or the BWC malfunctions. If the officer does not create an incident report, the officer shall notify his/her Division Commanding Officer and submit a BWC Special Notification Form under the “Non-Recording of Interaction (in part or in total)” category by the end of the shift or as soon as practical.
  3. Prior to end of shift: docking/uploading requirements: 
  4.  At the end of the shift, each officer shall place his/her BWC in his/her assigned docking station. The docking station will charge the BWCs battery and transfer video data to the storage system. 
  5. If an officer becomes aware that this process is not occurring or becomes aware of any other malfunction of the system, the officer shall notify his/her Division Commanding Officer immediately and submit a BWC Special Notification Form under the “Malfunction of Body Worn Camera Mount and/or Upload” category. 


Proper categorization of recorded data is critical. The retention time for recorded data typically depends on the category of the event captured in the video. Accurate categorization and accurate descriptions also help officers, supervisors, prosecutors, and other authorized personnel to readily identify and access the data they need for investigations or court proceedings. 


At the conclusion of the call or as soon as practical, officers shall dock their camera in order to upload video data to  Officers will then login to their accounts in order to categorize the video according to the following categories:

  1. Death Investigation 
  2. Lethal Force
  3. Sexual Assault/Abused Person 
  4. Less Lethal Use of Force 
  5. Arrest 
  6. Felony – No Arrest 
  7. Misdemeanor -No Arrest 
  8. Investigate Person 
  9. Investigate Premise 
  10. Significant Event – Public Safety 
  11. Traffic Stop 
  12. Encounter/FIO 
  13. Mental Health
  14. Sick Assist (Medical Aid Calls)
  15. No Report – Dispatch/On Site 
  16. Test/Training 
  17. False Activation
  18. Training Demo

The Department may also develop other categories, as needed. 

Encounters or incidents should be labeled by the officer to reflect the most serious category. If an officer is assisting other officers on a call, the assisting officer shall use the category of the original incident.[2]


When installed, the BWC Mobile Device Application’s location services will be set to off and should be maintained in the off status with any use of the application. Employees shall follow the training and procedures provided by the Department and the BWC vendor.


Officers wearing BWCs should be aware that their BWCs may unintentionally capture private/security information such as door codes, phone codes, and computer codes. If the officer knows that his/her BWC captured sensitive information or material, the officer shall notify his/her Division Commanding Officer that a recording may have sensitive information and submit a BWC Special Notification Form under the “Content is of a Sensitive Nature” category by the end of the shift or as soon as practical.  The Officer in Charge of the Video Evidence Unit will authorize redaction when he/she determines it is necessary. 


Sec. 4.1 Improper Recording:

Officers shall not use BWCs to record in violation of this Policy or any rule or procedure of the Department, including: 

  1. During breaks, lunch periods, or time periods when an officer is not responding to a call, or when not in service; 
  2. Any personal conversation of or between other department employees without the recorded employee’s knowledge; 
  3. Non-work-related personal activity, especially in places where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists, such as locker rooms, dressing rooms, or restrooms; 
  4. Investigative briefings; 
  5. Encounters with undercover officers or confidential informants; or 
  6. Departmental meetings, work groups, in-service training, or assignments of an operational or administrative nature. 

Using BWCs for training purposes is not a violation of this restriction. 

If an officer inadvertently records as listed above, the officer shall follow the request to redact/delete procedures described in Section 3.3. 


  1. Officers shall use BWC data, images, video recordings, audio recordings, or metadata only for legitimate law enforcement reasons. They shall not use data, images, video recordings, audio recordings, or metadata for personal reasons, or non-law enforcement reasons. 
  2. Department personnel shall not use BWC data, images, video recordings, audio recordings, or metadata to ridicule or embarrass any employee or person depicted on the recording. 
  3. Department personnel shall not disseminate BWC data, images, video recordings, audio recordings, or metadata unless the Police Chief or his/her designee approve the dissemination and the Department personnel disseminates the BWC data, images, video recordings, audio recordings, or metadata in the course of his/her official duties. 
  4. Department personnel shall not copy or otherwise reproduce any BWC recording/footage (including using an iPhone, iPad, or other electronic or other device). 
  5. The Administration, Captains and Officers in Charge, to include Professional Standards, shall not randomly review BWC recording/footage for disciplinary purposes.


Sec. 5.1 Duty Supervisors:

All Division Commanding Officers and Officers-in- Charge assigned to oversee officers utilizing Department-issued BWCs shall: 

  1. Ensure officers are utilizing their BWC consistent with this directive. 
  2. Ensure BWCs and related equipment are kept in a secure location within the district or unit. 
  3. Notify the Video Evidence Unit if an officer utilizes a BWC that is not assigned to him or her, so the Unit may reassign the recordings of audio and video to the officer who created the recordings. 
  4. Contact the Video Evidence Unit whenever any officer is unable to use the BWC or upload digitally recorded data due to technical problems. 
  5. Request replacement BWC equipment from the Video Evidence Unit when an officer indicates the equipment is lost or malfunctioning by submitting a BWC Special Notification Form under the “Malfunction of Body Camera, Mount, and/or Upload” category. Once procured by the Video Evidence Unit, ensure new equipment is received by requesting officer. 
  6. Ensure that officers include all required references to BWCs in appropriate Department documentation, such as incident reports. 
  7. Division Commanding Officers and Officers in Charge may review BWC data, images, video recordings, audio recordings, or metadata, consistent with this Policy, to approve any reports. 

Sec 5.2 Division Commanding Officers and Sergeants:

Division Commanding Officers and Division Sergeants are responsible for reviewing BWC activity logs and reports to ensure officers remain in compliance with metrics established by the Department through policy, training and Axon’s Performance software.  Division Sergeants are specifically charged with conducting reviews of recordings randomly selected from officers assigned to their respective divisions.  Sergeants conducting these reviews shall provide feedback to officers under their command on the use and performance of the BWC and provide training as needed to correct any deficiencies.      



Officers may review their own BWC recording when they are: 

  1. Involved in an incident, for the purposes of completing an investigation and preparing official reports. To help ensure accuracy and consistency, officers should review the BWC recording prior to preparing reports; 
  2. Preparing for court. Officers should advise the prosecuting attorney that they reviewed the BWC recording; and 
  3. Providing a statement pursuant to an internal investigation or other critical incidents. 

If an officer requests access to footage be made available for a time frame longer than the retention schedule allows, a request to extend retention schedule may be made through the BWC Special Notification Form under the “Request to Extend Retention Schedule” category. The footage will be available according to Schedule II in Section 9.2. 

If an officer needs a physical copy of their footage, a request shall be made through the BWC Special Notification Form under the “Request for Physical Copy of One’s Own Digital Evidence” category. Physical copies of the video shall be subject to M.G.L. Ch. 66, Sec. 10 and in accordance with all applicable state laws and regulations. 


Following an officer involved death, officer involved shooting or other use of deadly force, officers and supervisors at the scene shall not view any video before the Criminal Investigation Division views the footage and uploads it into the system. 

The on-scene incident commander shall be permitted to view BWC video and relay necessary information if exigent circumstances exist and it is necessary to view the video to (1) identify suspect information or (2) gather pertinent information that is necessary to protect life or safety prior to Criminal Investigation Division arrival. 

At a time determined by the supervisor in charge of the investigation, officers who: (1) were involved in the incident, (2) discharged their weapon, and/or (3) witnessed the incident may view their own video before giving a statement. At the officer’s request, the officer’s attorney may be present when the officer views the video. 

BWC video footage is a tool that may aid officers in providing an accurate and complete account of the incident. BWC footage should not replace an officer’s memories of the incident and the officer should base his/her statement on his/her memories, not solely on the video. 


 The Patrol Supervisor shall respond immediately to a death investigation or reported use of deadly force within his/her Sector. 

The Patrol Supervisor, as soon as circumstances allow, shall collect all BWC equipment, including department-issued mobile devices, which belong to the officers who: (1) were involved in the incident, (2) discharged their weapon, and/or (3) witnessed during the time of the officer involved death, officer involved shooting or other use of deadly force, and store the equipment in a secure compartment of his/her vehicle until the Criminal Investigation Division personnel arrive on scene. Once on scene, the Criminal Investigation personnel shall secure any remaining BWC equipment from involved officers and witness officers, as well as equipment already secured by the Patrol Supervisors, at the earliest opportunity. The Criminal Investigation personnel will transport the cameras to the Lynn Police Station for upload into the system. The BWC equipment will be returned to the officer as soon as possible following the event. 

Once uploaded, the Video Evidence Unit shall restrict video access from all users except for the Criminal Investigation Division.

Sec. 6.4 Officer Access to Footage:

Officers who need to review video or audio footage from another officer shall make a request via the online Special Notification Form to the Video Evidence Unit describing why they need to review the footage. 

The Officer in Charge of the Video Evidence Unit shall approve or deny the request. With approval, the Video Evidence Unit will provide access to the video and audio footage to the requesting officer. If providing another officer’s video or audio, the Video Evidence Unit shall notify the Division Commanding Officer or Officer in Charge of the officer whose BWC footage is requested that the BWC footage is being shared. 

Sec. 6.5 Supervisor Access to Footage:  

Any supervisor within the recording officer’s chain of command, and any Captain, may review the footage consistent with Section 4.2. A supervisor outside of the chain of command shall only be allowed to review footage with the permission of the Video Evidence Unit Commander. 


Professional Standards shall conduct periodic checks to ensure Department personnel are using BWCs according to Department policy. 


Superior detectives must ensure that detectives adhere to the duties and responsibilities as follows in this Section: 

Detectives will not use the BWC system or until they have successfully completed the required training. 

The Department will give detectives access to all BWC footage related to their assigned cases and detectives shall review all footage that relates to their assigned case. 

When assigned a case for investigation, the assigned detectives will: 

  1. Determine the identity of all involved officers. 
  2. Search for any associated BWC media, using applicable search parameters to verify that they have located all relevant files. 

BWC footage related to an incident may be updated at a later time or date. Detectives must be aware of and organize all BWC footage related to their cases. 

Should a detective consider material too sensitive to be accessible for other members of the Department, the detective shall notify his/her supervisor of the sensitive material. The detective’s supervisor shall review the video and, if deemed appropriate, send a request via the BWC Special Notification Forms to the Video Evidence Unit to make the data unavailable for a given amount of time. 



Federal, state, and local prosecutors shall make requests for BWC footage directly to the Video Evidence Unit. Should an officer receive a subpoena for BWC footage, the officer shall direct the subpoena with a Video Evidence Request as soon as practicable to the Video Evidence Unit for response. 

Officers are not permitted to provide video to any external partners and shall forward any requests made without a subpoena directly to the Video Evidence Unit. 

Upon receipt of the request, Video Evidence Unit shall determine if the case has been assigned to a detective. If the case has a detective assigned, the Unit will advise the federal, state, and local prosecutors to directly contact the detective supervisor for the related case. The detective supervisor or his/her designee will then contact and authorize the release of the video via the online Request Form.  

If no detective is assigned to the case, Video Evidence Unit shall review the BWC footage and provide it directly to the requestor after approval from Video Evidence Unit supervisor. 


Video Evidence Unit shall respond to public information requests submitted under M.G.L. Ch. 66, sec. 10 in accordance with all applicable state laws and regulations. 


The Department may receive requests for BWC footage not covered by sections 8.1 and 8.2. For example, civil discovery requests are appropriately submitted to the assigned attorney to the Deputy Chief of Administration. Requests for information submitted by a collective bargaining representative under M.G.L. c. 150E are appropriately submitted to the Deputy Chief of Administration. Should an officer receive a civil case subpoena or court order, he or she shall forward the request directly to the Deputy Chief of Administration. 

If these offices receive other external requests for BWC footage, they shall request necessary and responsive footage from the Video Evidence Unit through the BWC Special Notification Form under the “Request to View Another’s Digital Evidence” category.  

The Video Evidence Unit shall maintain a log of the request, and assist the requesting office to collect and process the requested footage. The Video Evidence Unit shall provide the requested footage to the requesting office, and complete redactions if required by the requesting office. The requesting office will be responsible for the review, approval, and release of footage to the appropriate person(s) as consistent with applicable law and agreements. 


In cases where the officer has not received a subpoena or request for BWC footage directly, the Video Evidence Unit will inform officers when their videos and/or 

BWC information are released, unless prohibited by legal or investigative restrictions. 


When releasing BWC footage to the public that has been designated as part of an investigation via the BWC Platform, the assigned detective shall be notified, unless prohibited by legal or investigative restrictions. 



BWC recordings and data are kept in a cloud-based storage platform managed by Video Evidence Unit. 


The Department will retain BWC footage based on categorization, but may retain the footage longer on a case-by-case basis as determined by the Police Chief or his/her designee. The footage retention schedule for cloud-based footage access is as follows: 

  1.  Schedule I- Indefinite Retention: 
  • Death Investigation 
  • Lethal/Less Lethal 
  • Sexual Assault / Abused Person 
  1. Schedule II- 7 Year Retention: 
  • Use of Force 
  • Arrest 
  • Felony – No Arrest 
  1.  Schedule III- 3 Year Retention: 
  • Misdemeanor – No Arrest 
  • Investigate Person 
  • Investigate Premise 
  1. Schedule IV- 90 Day Retention: 
  • Significant Event – Public Safety 
  • Traffic Stop 
  • Encounter/FIO 
  • Sick Assist (Medical Aid Call) 
  • No Report – Dispatch / On Site 
  1.  Schedule V- 30 Day Retention: 
  • Test/Training/Training Demo 
  • False Activation 


[1] The BWC special notification form automatically generates email notifications to personnel based on category submission.  Chief, Deputy Chiefs, Captain of Patrol, and VEU are notified in discretionary and civilian deactivation requests, and non-recordings submitted through the BWC special notification system.  These category submissions are only for cases not documented in an incident report.  VEU personnel receive notifications on all other submission categories.

[2] After video has been uploaded and processed, Incident number and location information from CAD and RMS systems will be added through Axon’s Auto-tagging feature.  Auto-tagging is completed in batches and can take up to 16 hours to be displayed.