RIAG and DPS announce next step in statewide body-worn camera policy development
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking gives the public opportunity to review proposed rule and provide written comment, or participate in a public hearing
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha and Colonel Darnell S. Weaver, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of Public Safety, today announced the start of the formal notice and comment period for the draft regulation to establish a statewide policy for the use and operation of police body-worn cameras
Last summer, 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), were 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. Today’s announcement follows and builds upon the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking issued in fall 2021 and the extensive stakeholder input and engagement that followed over many months.
“Obtaining public input from a wide range of stakeholders during the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking period has helped us ensure that this statewide policy reflects best practices, and is responsive to the needs and expectations of our communities. This policy ensures important interactions between law enforcement and members of the public are documented, advances the protection of important constitutional rights including privacy, and ensures transparency and accountability for critical use of force incidents,” said Attorney General Neronha. “I am grateful to our partners and to all who have participated throughout this process, and I encourage the public’s continued participation during this notice and comment period. I am looking forward to bringing this process to a conclusion and getting cameras on Rhode Island’s frontline officers.”
“The widespread use of body-worn cameras by members of law enforcement will be a critical tool in providing the accountability and transparency that both the police and the public desire,” said Colonel Darnell S. Weaver, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety. “Our team has worked closely with key stakeholders to develop appropriate policies to govern the use of the cameras and the footage the cameras will generate. We hope that members of the public will engage in the process and share their input so that the program can moved forward expeditiously.”
The statewide policies address when an officer should activate or deactivate a camera, retention and access to body-worn camera footage, and specific protocols for use of force incidents, among other issues.
“The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association is a strong supporter and advocate for the use of body-worn cameras,” said Sean Corrigan, RIPCA President and Narragansett Police Chief. “We recognize the immense value they provide in accountability, transparency and professionalism as they work to increase police training opportunities, expedite the truthful resolution of police misconduct complaints, and promote public trust. One of the key components of our Twenty for 2020 campaign was a pledge for every department in the state to research the feasibility and oversee the implementation of body-worn cameras. We are grateful to every stakeholder involved in the process of developing this new statewide policy, and look forward to taking this important step forward.”
The publication of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking marks the start of the 30-day rulemaking process in which the Attorney General and the Director of the Department of Public Safety will be accepting written comment from the public and will be hosting a public hearing. The public hearing will take place on August 3, 5:00 PM at the Attorney General’s Office, 150 S. Main Street, Providence.
In addition to the public hearing, the Attorney General encourages members of the public and interested parties to submit written comments concerning the rulemaking within 30 days of the date of the notice being published in the Rhode Island Code of Regulations, 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