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Police Department
Body-Worn Cameras - Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a Body Worn Camera (BWC)?

A. A camera worn on the body that captures audio and video.  Our officers will wear their cameras on the chest area.

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Q. What BWC system is the Prince William County Police Department using?

A. PWCPD has adopted the Axon Body 2 camera system. To learn more about the Axon Body 2, please click here.

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Q. How many cameras will the Prince William County Police Department have? 

A. There will be approximately 470 users deployed throughout the Department to include all patrol and school resource officers, motor units and K9 officers.  As the program evolves, this number could be expanded.

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Q. When Will We see officers wearing the BWC?

A. We will start training our officers and deploying cameras this Fall with full deployment occurring by the end of 2017.

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Q. How much did the BWC system cost?

A. Prince William County will spend approximately $4 million on a 5-year contract with Axon. This covers all equipment, infrastructure and storage costs associated with the program. 

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Q. Why are officers wearing cameras?

A. Body worn cameras serve as a tool to gather evidence and record law enforcement encounters with citizens.  They can also be valuable in maintaining community trust, transparency and accountability. Given the great relationship we share with our community, the Department continues to be proactive in strengthening this connection. The BWC is widely supported by our Board of County Supervisors, citizens of Prince William County and members of this Department.

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Q. What is the policy for the use of the BWC?

A. PWCPD has a policy in place that dictates when officers are to activate the camera and how to handle the digital evidence that is collected. To read more about our BWC policy, please click here.

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Q. Can the officer tamper with the video? 

A. No, the BWC system is specifically designed to prevent the user from altering or deleting any recordings.

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Q. How long are the videos retained? 

A. All videos are retained for a minimum of 60 days at which time all non-evidentiary videos are automatically purged.  All other videos are stored based on a retention schedule set by the Library of Virginia. To read additional information on retention, please click here.

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Q. How are the videos stored?

A. All videos are stored in secured cloud servers compliant with FBI Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) standards. To read additional information on CJIS standards, see pages 15-29 of Appendix G of the FBI's CJIS Security Policy, please click here.

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Q. What about my privacy during police encounters?

A. The PWCPD is aware of the many privacy concerns of those captured in recordings.  Our officers will continue to record, per policy, when investigating criminal activity or a violation of law.  However, prior to any release innocent parties will be redacted from the video.  This includes other non-related identifiers such as tag numbers, addresses, etc.  Our priority is to protect the right of privacy and ensure the safety of non-related parties.  

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Q. Can I ask the officer to turn off the video camera?

A. You may request for the officer to stop recording; however, officers are not required to comply if they are investigating criminal activity or a violation of law.

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Q. What is the process for obtaining a copy of a BWC video?

A. The release of any BWC recording to anyone outside of the PWCPD shall be approved in advance by the Chief of Police or his designee. BWC recordings shall be released when required by (i) a court order which is final and not subject to appeal, (ii) a subpoena duces tecum which is not subject to a motion to quash, (iii) the rules of discovery when no motion to quash is filed or written objection is made, and (iv) the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, Virginia Code § 2.2-3700 et seq., when not prohibited by law and no exemption is invoked.  The Chief of Police may authorize the release of any BWC recording deemed to be in the best interest of the community and public safety.

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Q. Where can I find out more about Prince William County Police Department's BWC Program?

A. We have additional information on our website, please click here.

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For more information, or if you have questions about this program, send an e-mail to: policedept@pwcgov.org or call 703-792-5123.

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