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University of Utah peace officer body-worn camera rule finalized

Interim rule R1-011A, which provides guidelines for the body-worn cameras used by University of Utah peace officers was approved by the Academic Senate Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, and is now adopted as a permanent rule.

The rule goes into effect after months of discussions with a variety of entities on campus, including the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC); the Surveillance System Administrator Committee (SSAC); the University of Utah Staff CouncilEquity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) center directors; the Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU); and the Academic Senate Executive Committee, which is comprised of 12 faculty members and three student members.

Some of the key differences between the interim rule and Final Rule R1-011A are outlined below:

  • The final rule establishes that body-worn cameras are only worn and used by University of Utah sworn peace officers.
  • The final rule provides that body-worn cameras may not be used to gather intelligence information based on activities involving first amendment protected speech.
  • The final rule establishes that an officer shall ensure the officer’s body-worn camera is recording at all times when the officer is engaged in a law enforcement-related encounter or activity and is not recording when the officer is not involved in a law enforcement-related encounter or activity.
  • The final rule requires an officer who is wearing a body-worn camera to give notice, when reasonable under the circumstances, to the occupants of a private residence or a health care provider present at a hospital.
  • The final rule requires an officer to deactivate a body-worn camera in a classroom environment while class is in session except in certain circumstances.
  • The final rule allows an officer to mute the audio while continuing to record video if consulting with other officers or supervisors while engaging in a law enforcement-related encounter or activity.
  • The final rule amends when an officer is required to deactivate the officer’s body-worn camera while conducting a lethality assessment by
    • Adding a victim of domestic violence to the list of types of victims to whom the provision applies.
    • Requiring that the officer deactivate the camera if the victim believes that deactivating the camera will encourage accurate information sharing.
  • The final rule adds a requirement that the chief safety officer reviews the rule at least annually in coordination with the Public Safety Advisory Committee, the Surveillance System Administrator Committee and other campus community partners.

More information about body-worn cameras, their use at the University of Utah, and the original interim rule can be found here.