Video recording devices have gained popularity in recent days. The development in technology has made it possible for people to use such devices in different situations. They can be used to record the sequence of events and also to use them for future reference. Due to these reasons, people related to law enforcement use dash cam videos to monitor the prevailing situation in a particular area. In this article, ‘How Long Do Police Keep Dash Cam Videos?’ you will get the entire information about the dash cams and how long the police can keep it.
How Long Do Police Keep Dash Cam Videos?
The use of video recording devices by the police is increasing signiﬁcantly and is an essential part of the investigation. The modern technology is making it possible for the police to record the unlawful activities and use them as evidence in front of the court. But the question arises how long they keep those videos with them. This question matters because the cloud storage facility is available to all and the videos can be retained there for a very long time.
First of all, it is better to know how the dash cam videos are formed and their uses. This will help you in getting the relevance of this device and also why it has to be with the police for a particular period. The dash cams that the police use are quite different from those used by the common citizens. There are different cams available that can be put on police cars.
These cams are modern enough and contain several features that may not be available in the regular dash cams. These dash cams can work with other components of the car such as indicators of the brake light and the light-bar system. It is interesting to know that it can also be combined with the radar gun.
The dash cam is used by the police ofﬁcers only when they receive the instructions from the department. Also, it depends upon the state laws that prevail in the area. Moreover, the camera of the video recorder has to be started by the ofﬁcer is in charge of activating the camera. The dash cam facility also helps the police to use the different tags like ‘Warrant’ and ‘DUI’. They indicate the stops which are about to occur in between the path.
The choice of the dash cam is also essential while analyzing its use. It varies according to the requirements of different departments. The durability is the biggest factor that affects the choice of the dash cam. It is because these cameras have to remain at that place for a longer time and also need to move from one place to another.
The camera must have enough power to run for the entire day and store all the incidents for a longer period. The storage system also depends upon the requirements of the police department. They can make use of hard drives or the wireless storage directly to the server of the department.
Now, you can easily understand how long the police keep the dash cam videos. There are many videos which are presented in front of the court. The other videos that are not taken to the court and remains with the police. The police keep the latter videos for a period of 180 days i.e. almost for 6 months. In case, the dash cam video pertains to any speciﬁc incidence such as vehicular mishaps, detentions, criminal inquiries, or use of power. These videos are retained for a period of 30 months from the date of the recording. For those cases which are under the trial, the videos remain with the police until the adjudication.
Dash cam videos are useful in many cases. The ﬁrst basic use is it to record the incidents that occur at the scene. The ofﬁcers can use these things as evidence against the criminal. It can also be used in the court to defend the victim and prove him/her innocent. Even it helps the state departments or the top ofﬁcials to know about the duty and performance of the ofﬁcers. It enables them to keep a check on their duties throughout the day.
However, it is not the usual purpose for which they are used and are not preferred by most. Dash cams are also situated on the uniform of the police ofﬁcers. However, these cameras are not feasible and the data collected from them are not stored for a longer period. The important and relevant information is kept by the police ofﬁcers for a period of 180 days or 30 months in case of special situations or criminal incidents.
Beneﬁts of Dash Cam Videos
The dash cam videos are used by the ofﬁcers for several purposes. The beneﬁts of such a device are making it popular and helping them in many ways. It makes the police ofﬁcers do their job effectively and with full responsibility.
It helps in knowing whether an ofﬁcer is accomplishing his/her work properly or not. The ofﬁcers remain at their jobs and perform their duties according to the norms due to the presence of the dash cam. If they do not perform their duties as per the rules, then they may have to lose their job or damage their public image.
Dash cam is useful as it provides more protection to the police ofﬁcers. This is because anyone will think twice before using force against the police. The person will not use violence or violent tools on the police ofﬁcers and provide safety to them. It will also help in justifying the police’s action in that particular incident. Both dash cam videos and body cam footage are useful for this purpose.
The top ofﬁcials can check whether the police ofﬁcer reacted suitably to the situation or not. It becomes more important when the police ofﬁcer uses deadly force. In case, he/she has not acted to the particular situation properly or according to the law, then he/she has to be punished for the inappropriate behavior.
The other beneﬁt of the dash cam videos is that it is strong evidence against the criminals that the particular crime is committed by him/her. It also helps the genuine or falsely accused person by showing that there is no involvement of his/her in that situation. Police can also decide the witness, who saw and knew about the happening of the crime. This video can further be presented in front of the court. Then, the court will decide if that video is admissible as evidence or not.
How Can You Get Dash Cam Videos from Police?
The dash cam videos have various uses and are also an important part of criminal investigations. But you may think is it possible to get these dash cam videos from the police. The answer depends upon certain rules and regulations formulated regarding the same.
As you have already noted that these videos remain with the police only and used as evidence in the court. There is no involvement of the third party and especially of the general public. It means that the access to these videos is generally not permitted. However, in certain circumstances, it is possible to get these dashcam videos from the police.
The Supreme Court, in one of its statement, told that the police departments need not disclose the videos pertaining to the criminal investigations. This means that in such cases it is not possible to get access to those videos and you cannot obtain the same from the police.
If in case, the police ofﬁcer uses violent modes or power, then the video is allowed to come in front of the general public. In all other cases related to criminal inquiries, you cannot get the dashcam videos.
Also, many states or police departments have their own rules and regulations regarding the dash cam videos. They may either follow the guidelines of the Supreme Court or formulate their own policies for releasing the videos to the general public.
It is not mandatory for the police departments to show the videos as they are not a part of the open public records’ law. It is very difﬁcult to get access to the dash cam videos or bodycam footage. The police usually reject the requests it receives for getting the dash cam videos.
Dash cam videos are used by the law enforcement ofﬁcers to not only get the evidence but also to ensure their safety as well. Most of these videos are retained by the police departments for a longer period or until the ﬁnal decision by the court. The time for which they are kept differs and depends on the incidents recorded in them. Also, the answer to how long do police keep the dash cam videos is that it is decided by the state’s rules and regulations or the current laws prevailing for the same. A normal person cannot get access to these videos until he/she is involved in that incident or the police consider him/her as the part of a particular crime.