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Hillsboro Police Officers Are Using Body-Worn Cameras

Post Date:10/16/2018 2:02 pm

Hillsboro Police Officer talking with a community member while wearing a body-worn camera.Enhancing safety, building trust, and demonstrating transparency and accountability are key to the City of Hillsboro Police Department’s community policing philosophy.

With that in mind, the first groups of Hillsboro Police sergeants and patrol officers are now wearing body cameras while serving the community. In the coming weeks, all Hillsboro patrol officers will have a body-worn camera.

Chief Lee Dobrowolski: "Cameras are not a cure-all, but they are an effective tool..."

“Body-worn cameras are not a cure-all, but they are an effective tool in modern policing,” said Chief Lee Dobrowolski. “They document police contacts and aid in investigation, prosecution, and transparency. The Hillsboro Police Department has great community member support, and we believe body-worn cameras will only increase trust and enhance the relationship.”

Body-worn cameras document the policing work Hillsboro officers do each day, and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the judicial process through video and audio documentation.

“We understand privacy is a main concern of our community members. The community’s concerns are our concerns,” Dobrowolski said. “There are times when video will not be recorded, such as certain cases where children are involved.” (see a full list of situations below)

Implementing body-worn cameras in Hillsboro

Hillsboro Police Officer with camera on his shoulderAfter securing a $217,500 federal grant in 2016, the Hillsboro Police Department met with community members to receive feedback, while researching best practices across the country. After many discussions, a body-worn camera policy and program was developed. The department then acquired approximately 100 cameras and trained officers on how to use them in the field.

“We held public forums, online surveys, and spoke individually with many community members,” Dobrowolski said. “We worked hard to create a policy that best fits the values and culture of the City of Hillsboro.”

The Hillsboro Police Department's body-worn cameras will not be intentionally used in the following circumstances:

  • In any location where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as a restroom, fitness or locker room, or designed break room
  • When an officer would be recording a patient during a medical, health care provider or psychological evaluation by a clinician or similar health care professional, or during treatment. When recording in hospitals or other health care facilities, officers shall be careful to avoid recording persons other than the suspect or witnesses that are deemed relevant to the matter being investigated by the officer
  • Communications made in a psychiatric facility, unless responding to a call involving a suspect who is thought to be present in the facility
  • Encounters with undercover officers or confidential informants
  • When an officer is engaged in conversations with individuals with whom the officer is in a privileged relationship (e.g., spouse, legal counsel, police peer counselor)

Instances when body-worn camera recordings may be discontinued in the City of Hillsboro:

Hillsboro Police Officer talking to a driverMembers should remain sensitive to the dignity of all individuals being recorded and exercise sound discretion to respect privacy by discontinuing recording whenever it reasonably appears to the member that such privacy may outweigh any legitimate law enforcement interest in recording. Examples and sensitive situations include, but are not limited to:

  • A witness or victim who wishes to remain anonymous or refuses to provide a statement if recorded and the encounter is non-confrontational
  • Recordings that would jeopardize safety planning for victims
  • Recordings that would disclose private security measures of residences or businesses
  • Recordings that would interfere with the ability to conduct an investigation due to sensitive circumstances (e.g., nudity, a victim of rape, child sex abuse, presence of child pornography, incest, or other form of sexual assault)
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