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RIAG and DPS announce first step in statewide body-worn camera policy development

Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking gives the public the first of many opportunities to provide input

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Neronha and Colonel James M. Manni, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of Public Safety, announced the start of a months-long public process for establishing a statewide policy for the use and operation of police body-worn cameras.

"The enactment earlier this summer of a statewide body-worn camera program to equip all police officers marked a significant step forward for Rhode Island, but there remains significant work regarding implementation of that program," said Attorney General Neronha. "Obtaining public input prior to the creation and adoption of statewide policies governing all matters related to body camera use will ensure that the cameras are used effectively and help police departments align with community expectations. That is why we are seeking input from a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that our statewide policies truly are best practices."

The statewide policies will address when an officer should activate or deactivate a camera, how an officer should notify the public about recording, what types of privacy protections should be put in place, and more.

Today's announcement marks the start of the initial policy-making process in which the Attorney General and the Director of the Department of Public Safety will gather relevant information and input from the public.

"As we enter this initial phase of drafting and promulgating a statewide body-worn camera policy, it is vitally important that we receive input from any interested party," said Colonel Manni. "This open and transparent process will allow us to consider every opinion before putting pen to paper. I look forward to working with any interested party that shares the same common goal of drafting the best model policy that will enhance the public safety of the citizens of this state for years to come."

"The Rhode Island Police Chiefs' Association is proud to support the broad, long-term implementation of a body-worn camera program throughout the state," said RIPCA Executive Director Sidney Wordell. "Body-worn cameras improve accountability, transparency and professionalism; they work to increase police training opportunities, expedite the truthful resolution of police misconduct complaints, and promote public trust. We are grateful to our elected leaders for their support of this program, and we look forward to working with our partners in the State and with community stakeholders on making sure this program is equitable, impactful and sustainable."

In July, Rhode Island enacted a statewide program that aims to equip every frontline police officer and supervisor with body-worn cameras. As part of the program, the Attorney General and Director of the Department of Public Safety, in consultation with the Rhode Island Police Chiefs' Association (RIPCA), are tasked with promulgating rules and regulations to create a statewide policy for the use and operation of body-worn cameras that participating departments will be required to adopt.

During the initial gathering phase of public input, the Attorney General and the Director of the Department of Public Safety will also host a public meeting at a date to be announced.

Following the initial gathering of public input, the Attorney General and the Director of the Department of Public Safety will promulgate draft rules establishing the policy, at which point the public process will continue and include public hearings and additional opportunities for public input.

All interested parties are invited to submit written comments concerning the rulemaking until September 24, 2021, by email or mail to the appropriate parties at the addresses listed below:

Office of the Attorney General
150 South Main Street
Providence, RI 02903

Department of Public Safety
311 Danielson Pike
North Scituate, RI 02857


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