tillsonburg/iStock(NEW YORK) — They are supposed to be a deterrent for misconduct, yet some New York Police Department officers are sending verbal and non-verbal signals to each other when their body cameras are tuned on, one watchdog agency found.The New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) found in a report that while investigating allegations of misconduct by the city’s police department, that one of their biggest issues were cases where Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) are involved. During its investigation, CCRB claims that NYPD officers in videos it reviewed used phrases like “I went Hollywood,” “Green,” “We’re live,” and “I’m hot” to warn fellow officers that their BWCs were on and recording. “Officers also used non-verbal cues, such as tapping motions, shoulder brushing, and gesturing to indicate whether their cameras were turned on or off,” the CCRB said in its investigation report released Thursday, that focused on the impact of police body-worn cameras from May 2017 to June 2019.BWCs were introduced to the NYPD — the largest police departments in the country — in 2014 after a federal judge determined that the stop-question-and-frisk policy implemented by the agency was unconstitutional and violated the rights of people of color in New York City.By August 2019, 24,000 of the over 36,000 NYPD officers, including those in specialized units like the Emergency Service Unit, were equipped with BWCs and over 3.5 million videos have been recorded, according to the NYPD. These recordings help CCRB investigators with the thousands of complaints they receive annually, but with officers signaling to each other about the presence of a BWC, it “undermines the purpose of the BWC program, which is meant to, ‘provide a contemporaneous, objective record of stops and frisks, allowing for the review of officer conduct,’” the report shows.From 2017 to June 2019 2,033 complaints where BWC footage was received, only 318 were fully investigated and ended with a conclusion. The CCRB reached a clear determination of fact in 76% of all cases, compared to 39% when no video was available, the agency reported.In response to the signaling accusations, an NYPD spokeswoman said the CCRB has “mischaracterized” the Patrol Guide’s guidelines which says “to notify members of the public as soon as reasonably practical that a BWC is recording.”The spokeswoman also said that the notifications are also a form of de-escalation.The CCRB and NYPD entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2019 which included a request to amend the NYPD’s Patrol Guide and create a policy prohibiting body camera interference tactics. Although NYPD said “changing the patrol guide is…not necessary and “the use of shorthand or jargon among officers is commonplace and not inappropriate.”Approximately 20 other cities including Minneapolis, Atlanta and Baltimore have policies prohibiting officers from interfering with BWC recordings, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, a public interest and legal advocacy organization.The Brennan Center for Justice created a resource for suggested language for BWC policies.“Appropriate disciplinary action shall be taken against any enforcement member who is found to have intentionally failed to adhere to the recording or retention requirements contained in this policy, or to have intentionally interfered with a BWC’s ability to accurately capture video footage,” according to a policy established in Parker, Colorado. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce announced today the selection of Betsy Bishop as the President of the state s premier business organization, representing a diverse cross section of businesses around the state.Charged with leading the Vermont Chamber and its 1,500 members, Bishop said, I look forward to this opportunity to work with Vermont businesses, many of which are facing unprecedented challenges. With the volunteer board and Vermont Chamber members, I will continue to provide a strong voice for Vermont businesses as they strive to maintain employment levels and grow in this economy.A resident of East Montpelier, Bishop currently serves as the Commissioner of Economic Development. She recently completed the successful merger of two Vermont state departments, streamlining government and achieving cost savings for Vermont taxpayers. She was also instrumental in the passage of the 2009 package of economic development initiatives, including the enactment of a Vermont research and development tax credit.Bishop has worked for Governor Jim Douglas since his election in 2002, beginning with his transition team. She then went on to lead his policy and legislative team for six years as his Deputy Chief of Staff and recently as Economic Development Commissioner. Prior to this work, Bishop served as Vice President of Government Affairs at the Vermont Chamber of Commerce from 1994 to 1998, before starting her own company which advocated for businesses in the state legislative and regulatory arenas. She initially launched her career with eight years in marketing and advertising.Mark Saba, Vermont Chamber First Vice Chair, Chair of the Selection Committee, and owner of Vermont s Formula Ford Auto Group, said, Betsy s knowledge of business in Vermont and her understanding of the kind of advocacy that Vermont businesses need make her uniquely suited to lead the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.Bishop replaces interim Vermont Chamber President Chris Barbieri. Barbieri was President of the Vermont Chamber for many years before leaving in 2003 to run the Vermont Chamber s international trade office in Shanghai, China and has been serving on an interim basis since December. Betsy s proven ability to work with Vermont s diverse employer community and state leaders while balancing intricate policy issues will be an immense advantage to the Vermont Chamber and its member businesses, as we develop dynamic solutions to the challenges that lie ahead, stated Chris Barbieri, Interim Vermont Chamber President.After an extensive interview process, a search committee comprised of leading Vermont employers from diverse business sectors and sizes all around the state selected Bishop as the top candidate. She will begin working at the Vermont Chamber in mid July.