November 1, 2018


To:       Tom Markus, City Manager           


From:  Gregory C. Burns Jr, Chief of Police


Ref:     Public Cameras (Draft Policy)       


I.             PURPOSE AND SCOPE

It is the purpose of this policy to provide guidelines for the use of overt public cameras. This policy provides guidance for the placement of department overt public safety cameras, as well as the storage and release of the captured images.

This policy only applies to overt, marked public safety video camera systems operated by the Lawrence Police Department (LPD). Nothing in this policy applies to the use of covert cameras utilized to further undercover investigations or surveillance authorized by a court order or other law.


II.            DEFINITIONS


Overt Camera: An overt camera means a camera that is noticeable.

Public Space: A place that is generally open and accessible to people (e.g., streets, sidewalks, parking lots, bike lanes, etc).

Retrieval: Copying images from the hard drive to some other media (CD ROM, etc.)

Recording: Capturing images on a computer disk or drive, Internet storage site, CD-ROM, or videotape 24 hours a day, seven days a week, yearlong.

Exigent Circumstances: Those situations deemed to be an emergency (e.g., active shooter, barricaded subject, hostage situation, violent in progress crime, etc.).

Retention: the length of time that records are maintained by the Lawrence Police Department and the specific deadline that must be met before any record may be destroyed.





III.           POLICY

It is the policy of the Lawrence Police Department (LPD) to install and utilize overt cameras, within public spaces, for the purpose of enhanced public safety in a manner consistent with accepted rights of privacy. The camera system utilizes cameras, which are capable of transmitting video images to a secure server, installed within the LPD. Cameras may be placed in strategic locations in order to detect and deter crime, to help safeguard against potential threats to the public, and to help manage emergency response situations during natural and man-made disasters.


The cameras will not be monitored live by any LPD personnel as a matter of daily police operations with the exceptions of specific large scale special events (e.g., NCAA Elite Eight, NCAA Final Four, St. Patrick’s Day Parade) or unless exigent circumstances exist as determined by the Chief or authorized designee. However if a report of a potential crime is reported to LPD video will be reviewed to determine if any potential evidence may have been captured.

To assure there is no violation of a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy, cameras shall be focused on public areas and the images shall be used or disseminated in accordance with the law and this policy. Video camera usage in public areas will be conducted in a legal and ethical manner while recognizing and protecting constitutional standards of privacy.

This policy shall be reviewed by the Technical Services Captain or authorized designee annually to ensure compliance with legislative changes or updates.





Only department-approved video camera equipment shall be utilized. The Chief of Police or the authorized designee shall approve all proposed locations for the use of video technology and should consult with and be guided by legal counsel as necessary in making such determinations.



Camera placement will be guided by the underlying purpose of enhancing public safety. Environmental factors, including lighting, location of buildings, presence of vegetation or other obstructions should also be evaluated when determining placement.

Cameras shall only record video images and not sound. Recorded images may be used for the purpose of furthering criminal investigations, public safety activities, and the monitoring of specific special events as determined by the Chief of Police or the authorized designee.




All public areas monitored by public safety camera equipment shall be marked in a conspicuous manner with appropriate signage to inform the public of their presence. Signs should be in well-lit areas, placed appropriately, and without obstruction to ensure visibility.



Video feeds or images from LPD cameras may be accessed, or viewed, by law enforcement outside of the LPD only with a specific and legitimate law enforcement purpose. All such requests from law enforcement outside of LPD will be submitted to, the Chief of Police, or authorized designee for approval. Unauthorized recording, viewing, reproduction, dissemination, or retention is prohibited.




All downloaded media shall be stored in a secure area with access restricted to only authorized persons. Unless limited by technological constraints, the recordings are maintained within the LPD overt public safety video camera system hard drive for a period of 14 days. LPD overt public safety video camera system images are deleted after 14 days unless the images fit into one of the enumerated categories below. Video requests must be made prior to the end of the 14-day period. A recording needed as evidence shall be copied to a suitable medium and booked into evidence in accordance with established evidence procedures.

Recordings that do not fall into one of the below categories will be deleted after fourteen (14) days.

a.         A recording that is associated with a felony criminal case will be maintained for a period of five (5) years.

b.         A recording that is associated with a misdemeanor criminal case will be maintained for a period of five (5) years.

c.         A recording that is associated with a traffic citation, will be maintained for a period of one (1) year.

d.         A recording that is associated with a citizen complaint of an officer will be maintained for a period of three (3) years.

e.         A recording that is associated with a use of force incident, as defined in Department Use of Force Policy, will be maintained for a period of seven (7) years.

f.          A recording associated with a traffic accident (no criminal charges) will be maintained for a period of two (2) years.

g.         A recording associated with a homicide or a death investigation, rape, aggravated criminal sodomy, or cases involving terrorism or weapons of mass destruction will be maintained indefinitely.

h.         A recording associated with a sexual crime defined by K.S.A. 22-3717 will be maintained indefinitely.

i.          A recording involving an internal administrative investigation will be maintained for the duration of the employee’s tenure by the Lawrence Police Department by the Office of Professional Accountability. After separation of said employee, the recording will be maintained for a period of five (5) years after separation. 




Requests should be made at the earliest available opportunity in order to make certain that the request can be fulfilled. The request for video research from the LPD public safety video camera system must be authorized by the immediate supervisor. All requests for recorded video images by LPD personnel will be sent to the Technical Services Division Commander or authorized designee for approval. If approved, the Technical Services Division Commander will forward the request to Technical Investigations. Technical Investigations will have the responsibility to provide the recorded video. Requests will be made by officer special and must contain the following information:

· The date and time of the incident

· The location of the incident

· The reason for the request

· The name and contact information of the requesting member

· The name of the authorizing commanding officer

· The date when the video will be needed (if urgent circumstances exist)

· The request should also include the following information, if applicable:

(A)The nature or type of occurrence (e.g. accident, offense)

(B) Description of suspect(s) or victim(s)

(C)Significant landmark(s) or points of reference





Requests for recorded video images from the public or the media shall be processed in the same manner as requests for department public records.


Requests for video images will be disseminated in accordance with applicable state law. (See K.S.A. 45-215) et. seq., Requests will be reviewed in compliance with Kansas Open Records statutes and shall be handled by the Records Division in accordance with established policy and procedure.

Recorded video images that are the subject of a court order or subpoena shall be processed in accordance with the established department process.



The authority to access, research, and retrieve recorded Information from the LPD overt public safety camera system is restricted to the members of Technical Investigations. Technical Investigations retains the authority to release recorded videos from the camera system to individuals who have made an appropriate request in compliance with the procedures outlined in this policy and who’s request have been approved.

Periodic audits of the camera system shall be conducted by the members of Technical Investigations to insure that the system is functioning properly and in good working order.




When utilizing the LPD overt public safety camera system all reasonable efforts shall be taken in order to protect the privacy rights of individuals in areas not accessible to the public.

The LPD overt public safety camera system will not intentionally be used to invade the privacy of individuals or observe areas where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists, unless otherwise authorized by law.

The LPD overt public camera system equipment shall not be used in an unequal or discriminatory manner and shall not target protected individual characteristics including, but not limited to race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation.

The LPD overt public camera system shall not be used to harass, intimidate, or discriminate against any individual or group.



The Chief of Police or the authorized designee will conduct an annual review of the LPD overt public safety camera system. The review should include an analysis of the effectiveness of the system, including any public safety issues that were effectively addressed or any significant prosecutions that resulted, and any systemic operational or administrative issues that were identified, including those related to training, discipline or policy.


The results of each review shall be appropriately documented and maintained by the Chief of Police or the authorized designee. Any recommendations for training or policy should be promptly addressed.




All department members authorized to operate or access the LPD overt public safety camera system shall receive appropriate training. Training should include guidance on the use of cameras, and a review regarding relevant policies and procedures, including this policy. Training should also address state and federal law related to the use of video camera equipment and privacy.



Gregory C Burns Jr.                                                Chief of Police