Body Worn Camera
In March, 2017, the Lynchburg Police Department fully implemented the "Body Worn Camera" (BWC) program and in conjunction with that program, the Commonwealth Attorney's Office had adopted the position of "Body Worn Camera Assistant" to act as a liaison between the two agencies. The BWC Assistant transfers and reviews videos involving arrests by Lynchburg Police Officers, looking for, and documenting, any evidence of crimes that were committed, and forwarding this evidence to the Prosecuting Attorneys, to help bolster these cases and increase the number of convictions in Court. The BWC Assistant also provides copies of videos to Defense Attorneys when requested, performing audio and visual redactions when necessary, to protect personal information, innocent bystanders, victims, etc from being exposed.
The AXON (formerly TASER) company provided the body cameras for the LPD and officers were fully trained in their use before being deployed. LPD currently employs 150 BWC cameras, as well as the ability to capture InCar/DashCam videos and photographs.
Given the current climate, public support for police body cameras is at its highest. A Cato/YouGov national survey found that 92% of Americans support requiring police officers to wear body cameras that record video of their interactions, and 55% would be willing to pay higher taxes to outfit their local police department with these devices. The results of wearing body cameras are just as positive and have been proven to decrease police use of force, the number of DUI cases, court overtime, external and false complaints, and response to resistance. Body cameras also increase cost savings for agencies, enhance public trust and create safer communities at a lower cost.
During the last couple of years, the Department of Justice has also increased its support to further assist law enforcement in the implementation of body-worn camera programs by providing additional funding to agencies. Looking forward, state legislators are working to quickly refine the legal framework surrounding body-worn cameras to both enhance transparency and help safeguard the privacy of people captured on camera, including children, witnesses and bystanders.
The benefits of sharing body camera data with prosecutors have been clear. For example, in DUI cases with video, attorneys identified the footage as an important factor in the resolution of the case. The body camera provides a secure chain of custody for uploading, storing and transferring all this digital evidence through Cloud-based software and technology. Police Officers are also issued, and are able to use, cellphones for taking still photos at crime scenes and uploading these photos to the case files through this program as well using the AXON apps. LPD currently utilizes BWC, InCar/DashCam, and Photo programs to record and store this information for criminal prosecution.
In 2022, due to the overwhelming demand for BWC, two part time BWC Assistants were hired, joining the BWC Coordinator in providing Prosecution and Defense Attorneys with the requested videos. One BWC Assistant is also serving as the OCA Office Investigator.
Beginning in the Fall of 2019, the Commonwealth of Virginia began requiring the collection and reporting of data concerning the Body Worn Camera (BWC) Program.
BWC in the News
Defense Attorneys & Pro Se Defendants
Please note: Effective June 5, 2023:
The Commonwealth Attorney will withdraw from, and no longer be involved in prosecuting, nor be responsible for providing discovery and body worn camera footage, regardless of defense attorney involvement, for infractions and the stand-alone misdemeanor charges, which are listed below. The only time the OCA will deviate from this request procedure, is to provide Discovery and BWC in an appeal case through Circuit Court. The Commonwealth Attorney's Office reserves the right to add to this list and/or decide to become involved in prosecuting any of the listed charges, if so desired, at any time.
- Drunk in Public
- Any Infractions
- "Non-Jailable" Class 3 and 4 Misdemeanors
- Violations of Probation/Parole
Pursuant to Rule of Supreme Court 7C:5, the Lynchburg Police Department (LPD) will now be tasked with providing discovery in cases where the Commonwealth is not involved.
Any requests made for cases not being prosecuted by the Lynchburg Office of the Commonwealth Attorney, will be returned to the requestor(s), as those requests must now go through the LPD utilizing the LPD's required forms and set procedures. Those LPD forms, and those of the OCA, are specific to each particular agency. Using the wrong form will result in the request being returned unfilled.
The Commonwealth Attorney's Body Worn Camera Office (BWC) will honor requests for the above list of charges made on or before February 24, 2023, before turning this over to the Lynchburg Police Department.
The Commonwealth Attorney's Office now has access to Discovery and BWC for cases originating from the Liberty University Police Department and will provide those upon request.
For any other agency where the reports and evidence originate (ex. Virginia State Police, Blue Ridge Regional, etc), those agencies must be contacted directly in all cases.
Defense Attorney, Pro Se Instructions For Obtaining Body Worn Camera Videos & Documents
For "Jailable" Requests, please follow the procedures:
For obtaining the Electronic Discovery Release Form (EDRF) (after prior submission of a Motion for Discovery Order) for the release of Body Worn Camera (BWC) video(s), Photos, InCar/DashCam videos and Digitized Documents.
Do not attempt to fill out these forms online, they must be downloaded to your computer first. After downloading and being "saved", open the form to fill it out.
- This all-in-one form has been revised to cover the Rules of Evidence for all Courts
- Download the form as needed.
- Using the downloaded, fillable PDF form, fill in all the information you have available, except for the "OCA BWC USE ONLY" box in the lower left-hand corner of the form. Your "signature" is computer generated.
This form is available for download for Defense Attorneys:
This form is available for download for Pro Se (Self-Representation) cases:
For Pro-SE Only
This Pro Se form must be filled out completely. A valid photo ID must accompany the request either in person at our Office, or a copy provided in the U.S. mail/email along with the completed form.
U.S. Mail or In-Person delivery address:
Office of The Commonwealth's Attorney
901 Church Street
Lynchburg, VA 24504
ATTN: BWC Assistant
For email submission: Email Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney
Please read through the BWC Program FAQ and Instructions (PDF).
For Defense Attorneys Only
Once the form has been completely filled out, click on one of the two colorized buttons at the bottom of the form to perform your next task:
- Submit Via Email - Which will send the form to your email account (which needs to be set up to be directed to an account you want to use) to be emailed to the BWC Office.
Please note: Submitting via email is the preferred method to use.
Please read through the BWC Program FAQ and Instructions (PDF).
- Print and fax to 434-847-5038 - which will send the form to your printer to print. You can then fax the form through your computer directly to a computer-based fax or sent manually. Please note: If you fax your request, you must supply an email address associated with your Evidence.com account that can be used for sending video links as well as further communication(s). Faxed copies are not always received in a clear copy, which is why email is preferred.