Chicago Police DepartmentSpecial Order S03-18
Helicopter Operations Video System
Issue Date:15 September 2017Effective Date:15 September 2017
Rescinds:17 November 2016 Version
Index Category:Field Operations
I.Purpose
This directive:
  • A.outlines the use of the Department helicopter video system.
  • B.outlines the policies and procedures for the use, maintenance, and repair of the helicopter video system.
  • C.outlines the roles and responsibilities of Department members using the helicopter video system for the video and audio recording of incidents.
  • D.continues the use of the following Department forms:
    • 1.Helicopter Flight Data Tracker (CPD-21.330).
    • 2.Helicopter Radio Assignments and Events (CPD-21.331).
    • 3.Helicopter Secondary Mission Sheet (CPD-21.332).
    • 4.Helicopter Homeland Security Mission Sheet (CPD-21.333).
    • 5.Digitally Recorded Data Viewing/Hold/Duplication/Shared Request (CPD-65.224).
  • E.identifies the Records Division as the Department repository and viewing location of digitally recorded data created by the helicopter video system.
  • F.satisfies CALEA Law Enforcement Standard 41.3.8.
II.Policy
  • A.The Department is committed to protecting the safety and welfare of its members and the public. The helicopter video system can provide members with an invaluable instrument to enhance criminal prosecution by providing powerful evidence of criminal activity, limit civil liabilities, and objectively document officer conduct during individual interactions. Members assigned to the Helicopter Unit equipped with a video system will use it pursuant to this directive.
  • B.Helicopter Unit supervisors have the responsibility and authority to ensure that all members assigned to a helicopter equipped with a video system strictly conform to all laws and Department policies concerning the use of the helicopter video system. Supervisors will take appropriate action to ensure adherence to this directive.
III.General Information
  • A.There is no expectation of privacy for Department members related to incidents recorded by the helicopter video system. Supervisors, members of the Bureau of Internal Affairs, and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) investigators may request to review the digitally recorded data from a helicopter equipped with a video system. Any digitally recorded data created by the helicopter video system may be used without a Department member’s permission for any official Departmental purpose.
  • B.Members assigned to the Helicopter Unit will follow procedures outlined by the Deputy Chief, Special Functions Division, for hardware modifications, repairs, upgrades, or adjustments to the helicopter video system.
  • C.The Records Division will be the custodians of the digitally recorded data and will be responsible for the retention, sharing, and viewing of the helicopter video system. The Director, Records Division, will establish retention, viewing, and duplication procedures that provide for inventory control, the security of the digitally recorded data, and authorized duplications.
  • D.All digitally recorded data created by the helicopter video system will be retained by the Records Division for a minimum of ninety days. Digitally recorded data that is marked and held as having evidentiary or training value will be retained as prescribed by law and established Department policy.
  • E.In general, minor infractions and minor deviations from Department policy observed through the review of digitally recorded data will not be subject to the disciplinary process and will be treated as a training opportunity.
IV.Recording Guidelines
  • A.Department members will use only Department-issued video and audio recording equipment.
  • B.Department members will conform to all laws and Department policies concerning the use of the helicopter video system for the video and audio recording of incidents.
  • C.When practical, every effort will be made by the Helicopter Unit crew to activate the video recorder when the camera is on for the following incidents:
    • 1.vehicle pursuits;
    • 2.foot pursuits;
    • 3.searches; and
    • 4.any situation that the crew, through training and experience, believes to serve a proper police purpose.
  • D.During the recording of an incident, Department members should not disengage the helicopter video system until the entire incident has been recorded.
    NOTE:
    Department members will be required to justify any disengagement of the helicopter
    video system prior to the entire incident being recorded.
  • E.When digitally recorded data is determined to have evidentiary or training value, or a complaint against a Department member is received that involves a digitally recorded incident, the investigating member will request an extended hold on the data.
  • F.Assigned supervisors will request an extended hold on all digitally recorded motor vehicle pursuits and traffic crashes involving Department vehicles.
  • G.When the helicopter is involved in a motor vehicle pursuit involving Department vehicles, the Commanding Officer, Helicopter Unit, will ensure a copy of the video is requested by completing the form entitled "Digitally Recorded Data Viewing/Hold/Duplication/Shared Request" (CPD-65.224) and a completed Traffic Pursuit Supplemental Report (CPD-22.959) is forwarded to the Traffic Review Board.
V.Operational Procedures
  • A.Department members assigned to a Department helicopter equipped with a video system will:
    • 1.at the beginning of the tour of duty:
      • a.visually inspect the helicopter video equipment for damage;
      • b.power on the helicopter video system;
      • c.during preflight check ensure the camera is functional;
      • d.test the video recorder for functionality; and
      • e.test the crew-member microphones to ensure they are functioning when the video recorder is activated.
    • 2.during the tour of duty:
      • a.audibly and visually record events in accordance with this directive; and
      • b.complete appropriate reports, including the Helicopter Flight Data Tracker, Helicopter Radio Assignments and Events, Helicopter Secondary Mission Sheet, and Helicopter Homeland Security Mission Sheet, consistent with procedures established by the Deputy Chief, Special Functions Division.
    • 3.at the conclusion of the tour of duty:
      • a.verify that the camera system is still working properly; and
      • b.initiate the downloading of the digitally recorded data.
        NOTE:
        Members will immediately notify a supervisor if unable to complete the downloading of digitally recorded data due to technical problems.
  • B.The assigned supervisor of Department members using a Department helicopter equipped with a video system will:
    • 1.monitor subordinates to ensure the helicopter video system is used properly.
    • 2.ensure there are no items, substances, or foreign objects affixed to the camera system, lenses, or microphones.
    • 3.verify that the helicopter video system is operational and that microphones are synchronized, activated, and working properly when the video recorder is activated.
    • 4.receive verbal confirmation from subordinates that digitally recorded data is appropriately retained and uploaded prior to the end of their tours of duty.
    • 5.follow procedures approved by the Deputy Chief, Special Functions Division, whenever any member is unable to use the helicopter video system or microphones or unable to download digitally recorded data due to technical problems.
    • 6.initiate an investigation when notified of damaged, missing, or lost equipment, ensure that the appropriate case report is prepared and, if appropriate, obtain a CR number.
    • 7.take immediate corrective and disciplinary action if Department members fail to appropriately use the helicopter video system or if members are observed or reported to be improperly handling, operating, or in any way damaging or tampering with the helicopter video system.
    • 8.document on the Helicopter Flight Data Tracker (CPD-21.330):
      • a.whether or not the helicopter video system is functioning properly;
      • b.all responses related to malfunctions of the helicopter video system;
      • c.digitally recorded data that was successfully downloaded; and
      • d. any digitally recorded data that was not downloaded due to technical problems.
    • 9.ensure a Traffic Pursuit Supplemental Report (CPD-22.959) is completed if a vehicle pursuit has been digitally recorded.
    • 10.obtain a complaint register number and order an evidence technician to process the equipment if any damage or malfunction is suspected to have been caused by deliberate means (tampering).
VI.Downloading Digitally Recorded Data From The Helicopter Video System
  • A.Once the tour of duty has concluded, the assigned Helicopter Unit member will:
    • 1.download recorded helicopter video to a USB device;
    • 2.login to Evidence.com with username and password;
    • 3.select the "evidence" tab;
    • 4.under the evidence tab select "import evidence";
    • 5.click on the blue button "select files" and select the video file to upload;
    • 6.add the required information in the title, ID and category boxes;
      NOTE:
      The title will be "Helo and the date of the incident." The event number will be recorded in the ID box.
    • 7.select the upload evidence box;
    • 8.ensure the video file is listed on the evidence page.
      NOTE:
      Department members can select the title highlighted in blue to review the uploaded video.
    • 9.format the USB device containing the video file for future use.
  • B.If an attempt to upload videos is unsuccessful, members may contact the City of Chicago Help Desk at 4-DATA for assistance.
  • C.The Information Services Division will ensure all authorized Department members and any authorized outside-agency personnel have access, limited to their specific role, to enter recordings on the Evidence.com database that relate to their official duties.
VII.Viewing Digitally Recorded Data
All digitally recorded data created with the helicopter video system is property of the Chicago Police Department. Dissemination of any digitally recorded data outside the Department is strictly prohibited without specific authorization by the Superintendent or an appointed designee.
  • A.Unauthorized duplicating, deleting, altering, capturing, or disseminating of audio or video footage from the helicopter video system is strictly prohibited.
  • B.Department members are authorized to view their uploaded recordings on Evidence.com using their unique user access credentials from a Department computer at a Department facility.
  • C.Nonauthorized Department members who are seeking to view copies of recordings from the helicopter video system will complete the form entitiled "Digitally Recorded Data Viewing/Hold/Duplication/Shared Request" (CPD-65.224) and forward it to the Records Division.
    • 1.the Records Division will ensure the:
      • a.record is flagged, changing its retention date according to this directive;
      • b.document causing the record to change is scanned into Evidence.com; and
      • c.video is shared as necessary through Evidence.com.
    • 2.the directive entitled Freedom of Information is followed.
      NOTE:
      All applicable laws, including the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 ILCS 140/1) will be followed when a FOIA request is made.
VIII.Retention
All digitally recorded data created by the helicopter video system will be retained in accordance with the Department's Forms Retention Schedule (CPD-11.717).
  • A.Recordings made on the helicopter video system must be retained for a period of ninety days unless any video captured has been flagged.
  • B.Under no circumstances will any recording be made with the helicopter video system relating to a flagged encounter be altered or destroyed prior to two years after the recording was flagged. If the flagged recording was used in a criminal, civil, or administrative proceeding, the recording will not be destroyed except upon a final disposition and order from the court. A recording must be requested to be flagged in Evidence.com by completing the Digitally Recorded Data Viewing/Hold/Duplication/Shared Request form (CPD-65.224) and forwarding it to the Records Division when:
    • 1.the encounter resulted in a detention or an arrest, excluding traffic stops which resulted in only a minor traffic offense or business offense;
    • 2.an officer discharged his or her firearm or used force during the encounter;
    • 3.death or great bodily harm occurred to any person in the recording;
    • 4.a supervisor, prosecutor, defendant, or court determines that the encounter has evidentiary value in a criminal prosecution;
    • 5.a complaint regarding a Department member has been filed;
    • 6.the officer is the subject of an internal investigation or otherwise being investigated for possible misconduct;
    • 7.the recording officer requests that the video be flagged for official purposes related to his or her official duties.
  • C.Following the ninety-day storage period, recordings may be retained if a supervisor designates the recording for training purposes. If the recording is designated for training purposes, the recordings may be viewed by officers, in the presence of a supervisor or training instructor, for the purposes of instruction, training, or ensuring compliance with Department policies.
Authenticated by: KC
Kevin B. Navarro
Acting Superintendent of Police
17-092 CAW