News from CRI-TAC The COPS Office Collaborative Reform Technical Assistance Center

Police officers wear protective masks while maintaining a road block on the bridge leading to a drive-through testing facility. Angus Mordant—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Protecting Our Law Enforcement Officers As They Serve The Community During A Pandemic​

As millions of Americans try to limit their exposure to the possibility of contracting COVID-19, there are certain groups that need to stay on the front lines, and law enforcement is one of those groups. While the predominant focus is on staying physically healthy, often overlooked is the mental toll faced by the officers and deputies, who are valiantly continuing to do their jobs in the face of a worldwide pandemic. To that end, CRI-TAC is offering two webinars that will focus on the mental health of law enforcement doing their jobs during this trying time:

Maintaining Morale During a Public Health Crisis Webinar

On October 19, 2020, the COPS Office Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC), in conjunction with CRI-TAC partners NSA and IACP, will host a webinar on what sheriffs and other law enforcement leaders can do to help maintain and improve morale among personnel – both sworn and civilian – during a crisis. Speakers will include Sheriff Garry McFadden, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. To register for the webinar, please visit

How to Prevent a Global Crisis from Becoming a Personal One: Stress Management in High-Stress Times Webinar

On October 27, 2020, the COPS Office CRI-TAC, in conjunction with CRI-TAC partners NSA, IACP, and FOP, will host a webinar on the mental health of officers during COVID-19. This webinar will offer realistic practices and tips for first responders and their families to help address and manage stressors during a pandemic. Speakers will include FOP National Director of Wellness Services Sherri Rowan, Dr. Kimberly Miller, and Metropolitan Nashville Police Manager David Kennington. To register for this webinar, please visit

Don’t Forget to Contribute to the COVID-19 Law Enforcement Impact Dashboard!

The National Police Foundation recently announced a real-time COVID-19 Law Enforcement Impact Dashboard to collect data and monitor workforce impacts, including the number of officers unable to work/placed in off-duty status due to possible or confirmed exposure, the number of officers that have been tested and diagnosed, and personal protective equipment (PPE) needs.

The NPF, IACP, and other CRI-TAC partners encourage law enforcement agencies to submit their data here: Data collected through the COVID-19 Law Enforcement Impact Dashboard will assist the field with understanding the scope and impact of COVID-19, as well as informing CRI-TAC tools and resources for the field.

New Offering Under CRI-TAC’s Menu of Technical Assistance

CRI-TAC is pleased to announce that its technical assistance offerings will now include the topic of “use of force.” In response to tremendous requests from the field, use of force will now join a number of other highly requested topics including community engagement, de-escalation, mass demonstration response, officer safety and wellness, and school safety. Technical assistance on use of force will include:

  • Offering training and awareness on best and promising practices, including offering peer-to-peer exchanges to share those practices
  • Reviewing and providing tailored guidance on an agency’s policies, procedures, and training
  • Training and guidance on how to conduct use of force investigations
  • Developing a calibrated use of force investigation process tailored to the type and size of the agency
  • Addressing how to handle complaints, as well as how to follow-up complaints to ensure investigations are safe, and accountable

Agencies can request more information by visiting or contacting

DEA and Discovery Education Launch Expansion of Operation Prevention

Unsplash Photo by Scott Webb.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and Discovery Education have expanded Operation Prevention, a joint effort to curb drug use among students by educating them about the dangers of abuse. In response to growing demand, new modules launched last night build on the original student curriculum, which is geared toward elementary and middle schools students. These new lessons educate young people about the effects of a wider range of drugs and pharmaceuticals on the human body.

Operation Prevention will host a webinar for educators on October 14 to review the existing curriculum, and showcase the new multi-drug curriculum with a video topic series and activities for grades 3-8, and tips for implementing them within the existing Operation Prevention resources. Educators can register here.

“The first line in prevention is always education,” said Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea. “By reaching out to youths, presenting them with information to expand their base of knowledge about drugs and drug abuse, we can stem the future tide of misuse, abuse, overdose, and death. If we reach just one child and prevent even one death through this program, we will consider it a success.”

DEA and Discovery Education launched Operation Prevention in 2016 as a three year program for middle and high school students with lessons centered on the dangers of opioid prescription drug abuse. The DEA-funded program was soon expanded to add elementary and Spanish-speaking students. A second expansion added a workplace module to allow businesses to access this important information. The program continues to evolve with a module for Native American/Alaskan Natives in the planning stages.

Justice Department Awards $144Million to Improve Crime Victim Services

The Department of Justice today awarded grants totaling over $144 million to enhance services for victims of crime across the United States.

“The Department of Justice is steadfast in its commitment to protecting public safety and bringing justice to those who have been victimized,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “The investments we are making today will support service providers as they work to secure the legal rights of victims and put survivors of criminal acts on the road to recovery.”

All grant money being awarded today comes from offices within the department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP). Approximately $64.3 million was awarded under Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) grant programs; over $54.1 million was awarded under Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) programs; over $19.9 million was awarded under Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) grant programs; and nearly $5.7 million was awarded under two National Institute of Justice (NIJ) grant programs.

“As lockdowns and lawlessness fuel crime in America’s homes and communities, more people are vulnerable to victimization and those who have been victimized face new hurdles,” said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “The Office of Justice Programs is committed to giving our victim service partners the tools they need to better serve their clients and protect victims’ rights.”

Grants awarded under FY 2020 OVC programs further the department’s mission to enhance the field’s response to victims of crime. Specific programs are:

  • The Emergency and Transitional Shelter and Housing Assistance for Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Victims and their Companion Animals Grant program gives over $2.2 million to six organizations for shelter and transitional housing to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking and their companion animals. 
  • The Improving Community Preparedness to Assist Victims of Mass Violence or Domestic Terrorism: Training and Technical Assistance Project awards nearly $3 million to provide individualized training and technical assistance to state, local and tribal law enforcement; units of government; emergency managers; victim service providers; and other stakeholders to help augment their community emergency management response plans to ensure that the needs of victims, families and first responders are addressed after incidents of criminal mass violence or domestic terrorism. 
  • The Advancing the Use of Technology to Assist Victims of Crime program gives over $6.2 million to five organizations to support projects that demonstrate innovative strategies to create, expand or enhance the use of technology to interact directly with crime victims and to provide information, referrals, crisis assistance and long-term help. 
  • The Addressing Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting program gives nearly $1.8 million to six recipients to address communities’ responses to victims of female genital mutilation and over $1 million to one organization to provide targeted technical assistance to inform front-line providers on how to identify and serve victims and persons at-risk of being victimized. 
  • The Targeted Training and Technical Assistance for VOCA Victim Assistance and Compensation Administrators program awards nearly $5 million specifically to provide peer-to-peer training on federal grants management and administration for Victims of Crime Act victim assistance grantees and subgrantees. 
  • The Crime Victims’ Rights Legal Clinics program gives nearly $4 million to four recipients to enforce crime victims’ rights at the federal level under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act and at the state, local or tribal level under substantially similar state, local, or tribal laws. Another $1 million is awarded to a training and technical assistance provider to support the clinics as they launch or expand their crime victims’ rights clinics and train allied professionals. 
  • The Law Enforcement-Based Victim Specialist program gives over $8.6 million to 22 recipients to develop or enhance crime victim specialist programs within law enforcement agencies to better support victims through the criminal justice process, and another $2 million to one organization to support training and technical assistance for the grantees. 
  • The Crime Victim Compensation Program Assessment program gives nearly $2.4 million to seven recipients to help selected states assess victims’ access to compensation programs with the goal of increasing the number of victims aware of this resource. 
  • The State Victim Liaison Project gives over $4.7 million to 10 organizations to place one or more experienced crime victim liaisons within selected VOCA State Administrating Agencies to act as a bridge between the state and other state-based nongovernmental organizations in order to identify gaps in victim services and improve access to resources for crime victims in rural/tribal areas, older victims of crime and victims of violent crime. 
  • The Training for Law Enforcement to Improve Identification of and Response to Elder Fraud Victims program awards nearly $2 million to provide training and technical assistance to enhance law enforcement’s ability to identify elder fraud victims, connect those victims with available services, and bring the fraudsters to justice. 
  • The Enhancing Services for Older Victims of Abuse and Financial Exploitation program awards nearly $6 million to 12 organizations to support communities in providing services to older victims of abuse and exploitation using trauma-informed approaches that protect the safety and confidentiality of victims. 
  • The Enhancing Community Responses to America’s Drug Crisis: Serving Our Youngest Crime Victims program gives over $12 million to 17 organizations to support direct services to children and youth who are crime victims as a result of the nation’s addiction crisis; and nearly $1.5 million to one organization to support training and technical assistance for the direct services grantees. In addition, OVC will award $250,000 in continuation funding to the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma to provide services to Tribal children and youth who are victimized as the result of the opioid crisis. 
  • The National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) Community Awareness Program gives $300,000 to an eligible organization to continue supporting public awareness, community outreach, and education activities for crime victims’ rights and services during NCVRW in April 2021.

Grants awarded under FY 2020 OJJDP programs further the department’s mission of supporting the effective investigation and prosecution of child abuse and neglect cases.

  • Under the Victims of Child Abuse Act Support for Children’s Advocacy Centers program, OJJDP awarded more than $18.3 million in continuation funding to the National Children’s Alliance in Washington D.C. This program will provide support to Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) through three funding categories: subgrants to local CACs, state chapters and multidisciplinary teams ($15.3 million); subgrants to provide services for victims of child pornography ($2 million); and efforts to help military installations address cases of child abuse, including subgrants to local CACs ($1 million). 
  • OJJDP also awarded $5 million in continuation funding to four organizations via the VOCA Regional Children’s Advocacy Center. This program supports regional centers, one situated within each of the four U.S. Census regions, that help to build and establish multidisciplinary teams (MDTs), local programs, and state chapter organizations that respond to child abuse and neglect; and deliver training and technical assistance that strengthen existing MDTs, local CACs and state chapter organizations. 
  • Through the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCA) Training and Technical Assistance for Child Abuse Professionals program, OJJDP awarded $2.5 million to the National Children’s Advocacy Center in Alabama. This program promotes improved child interview techniques, thorough investigative methods, interagency coordination and effective presentation of evidence in court. The program will provide training and technical assistance to establish coordinated multidisciplinary programs that address child maltreatment. 
  • OJJDP awarded more than $10.8 million in continuation funding to the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association in Washington under the Court Appointed Special Advocates Membership, Accreditation, and Subgrants Program and Training and Technical Assistance. This program aims to serve and improve outcomes for children in the dependency system; provide effective advocacy for abused and neglected children, including foster care youth; and build on the training and technical assistance program that OJJDP has developed in collaboration with the National CASA Association. 
  • OJJDP awarded more than $3.1 million to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges in Nevada under the Child Abuse Training for Judicial and Court Personnel program to improve juvenile justice and dependency systems’ response to child abuse and neglect, as well as child sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. This program provides judicial, legal and social service professionals with training and technical assistance to improve their understanding of child abuse; their ability to prevent placement in foster care when possible; and their ability to reunify families after foster care placement. 
  • OJJDP awarded more than $7.2 million to the National Children’s Alliance to support the American Indian and Alaska Native Subgrant Program. This program will support the expansion of new satellite CACs through the provision of subgrants to existing CACs in Alaska, and to tribes (or existing CACs serving tribes) interested in establishing a satellite CAC in the lower 48 states.
    Another $4.8 million was awarded to eight organizations through the Alaska Children’s Advocacy Center Expansion Initiative for Child Abuse Victims to support programmatic enhancements for existing Alaska-based CACs to increase the range and quality of services as well as specific infrastructure needs. 
  • Under the Training and Technical Assistance To Expand Children’s Advocacy Centers Serving American Indian/Alaska Native Communities program, OJJDP awarded $1 million to the University of Montana to improve the capacity of child abuse professionals and promote the effective delivery of the evidence-informed CACs model and the multidisciplinary response to child abuse across American Indian/Alaska Native communities. 
  • OJJDP awarded $750,000 to the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma via the Tribal Children’s Advocacy Center Expansion Initiative for Child Abuse Victims program to improve the capacity of child abuse professionals and promote the effective delivery of the evidence-informed CAC model and the multidisciplinary response to child abuse in tribal communities.
    OJJDP awarded $500,000 to the Alaska Children’s Alliance (State Chapter) to enhance and expand the coordinated multidisciplinary investigation and prosecution of child abuse in Alaska through targeted training and technical assistance.

Grants awarded under FY 2020 SMART programs further the department’s mission of keeping communities safe by promoting innovation and best practices in preventing and protecting the public from sexual violence. Specific programs:

  • The National Sex Offender Public Website program awards over $900,000 for continued Maintenance and Operation of the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website program. 
  • The Keep Young Athletes Safe program awards over $2.2 million to support the ongoing implementation of prevention measures to safeguard amateur athletes from sexual, physical and emotional abuse in the athletic programs of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, each national governing body and each Paralympic sports organization. 
  • The Adam Walsh Act program awards over $16.7 million to 61 recipients to help jurisdictions develop and enhance programs designed to implement the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), which provides a comprehensive set of minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification in the United States. Almost $800,000 is being awarded to provide training and technical assistance to jurisdictions implementing SORNA standards.

Grants awarded under FY 2020 NIJ programs aim to evaluate and fund research projects related to perpetrators and victims of elder abuse. Specific programs:

  • The Research and Evaluation of Victims of Crime program gives over $4.2 million to six recipients to evaluate programs that provide services for victims of crime and research the financial costs of victimization. 
  • The Research on the Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of Elderly Individuals program awarded just under $1.5 million to two recipients to fund research projects to, respectively, better differentiate physical abuse of elderly individuals from accidental injury and to improve the reporting of elder abuse.

For a complete list of individual grant programs, amounts to be awarded and the jurisdictions that will receive funding, visit:

In addition to the grants listed above, OJP awarded nearly $101 million in funding to combat human trafficking and provide vital services to trafficking victims throughout the United States. For a complete list of individual grant programs, award amounts and jurisdictions that will receive this funding, visit:

Tips for Interrupting Unconscious Bias

“Why do you brush your teeth?”

When I ask that in my unconscious bias trainings, people give me a very strange look.

Because you want healthy teeth and fresh breath, obviously. Except, for millennia, humans were perfectly happy without either. So what changed

Advertising. Marketing. Pepsodent, especially. They made you want to brush your teeth. They made you desire that clean feeling. They made it into a habit.

A habit is changed behavior. And making people want to do something is how we always think habits should form. Change hearts and minds, and changed behavior will follow.
But it’s not the only way. It’s not the reason, for example, why you put on your seatbelt. You put on your seatbelt because for decades legislators said we had to. And now you do it automatically— so automatically that it has become a habit. They changed the rules, they changed the world.
If you want to interrupt bias for good and want to create a fair and equitable world for everyone, then adapt new habits to change your behavior. If you keep on doing it, day in and day out, your new habits will replace the old habits you had before.

You can apply this practice to interrupt unconscious biases. It just takes doing the work. Here are three tips to help you start.

1. Slow down your thinking.
Bias occurs because you have a fast, automatic part of your brain that instantly makes conclusions about everyone and everything. It processes over 99% of the information coming at you. But you have to slow that way down. When it comes to your interactions and assumptions of people, you need to create the habit of letting the slower, more rational, more reasonable part of your brain kick in.

When you find yourself making assumptions about someone, ask yourself why. Uncover the facts. Why did you reach that conclusion? What evidence demonstrated that belief? When you find yourself forming first impressions of people, analyze why and how you made those first impressions.

2. Create a counter-stereotypical narrative.

In her excellent TED Talk, “The Danger of the Single Story,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about how stereotypes create only a single story about a person— a single story that is incomplete. Work to build other stories about the person for whom you’ve made an assumption.

Consider your initial reaction to this scene: Nine people are in a bar — two are lawyers, one is a truck driver, two are doctors, one is a judge, one is a legal assistant, one is a firefighter and one is the bartender.

Did you assume that everyone in that bar is a white man, except for perhaps the legal assistant? That assumption results from living in a world that portrays those roles as reserved for white men. Interrupt that unconscious bias by creating a counter-stereotypical narrative in your own head. Imagine Korean judges and Black lawyers and Native American doctors and women firefighters. Constantly interrupt this shortcut thinking in your head.

3. See the person, not the stereotype.

Practice this pointer when, for example, you see someone arrive late for an appointment. Don’t assume you know what the reason is because of the stereotypes you have of the person’s group (“people like her are always late”).

Instead, start by observing what’s happening in the moment — right now. Explore explanations for why this is happening. Again, slow down your thinking and increase your objectivity. See the person, not the stereotype. And do it with empathy.

You’re not critiquing for the sake of criticizing. You’re exploring with the goal of understanding. It’s not enough to simply see beyond the stereotype. Do the extra work to see the person as well.

Create new habits. Build new behaviors. That’s how you can interrupt unconscious bias for good.

This article first appeared in Real Leaders.
By Michelle Silverthorn | 
About the Author

Michelle Silverthorn is Founder and CEO of Inclusion Nation, that works with Fortune 500 companies, tech start-ups, nonprofits and universities to design authentic, inclusive spaces for success. A recognized organizational diversity expert and speaker, she has written extensively on the topic. She is a TEDx speaker, and author of the new book, “Authentic Diversity: How to Change the Workplace for Good” (CRC Press, Sept. 9, 2020). Learn more at

How Has COVID-19 Affected Crime?

Crime rates are declining in 2020 — thanks to COVID-19. Or at least that’s what we thought.

Violent crime and property crime rates did indeed fall during the first months of the pandemic, according to the FBI. The preliminary data show that rapes dropped 17.8% and murders fell 14.8% from a year earlier, during the first six months of the year. Non-violent thefts and larceny fell by slightly more, while violent robbery decreased 7.1%. However, the report does not categorically state that the period covered by the data coincides with COVID-19 quarantines and social distancing rules.

The data, however, show that arson cases have grown during this time. There has been a 52% rise in large cities and a 28% rise in the West. Overall, violent crime increased in the South by 2.5% compared to 2019 but fell in the Northeast, West, and the Midwest.

Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Police Department has a different perspective, however. It has witnessed an increase in gun violence and killings in the city during the pandemic. The increase comes despite a 5.6% overall drop in violent crime.

Initially, they, too, reported a decrease in crime amid stay-at-home orders. At the onset of stay-at-home orders, the Bay Area had fewer reported crimes in Los Angeles. But the summer proved violent as gun violence became more rampant. Compared to September 2019, L.A. is witnessing a 13.7% increase in homicides and an 8.2% increase in shootings.

City-wide burglaries dropped 10%, and property crime rates dropped by 9.3%. But retail theft jumped 67%, and vehicle thefts increased by 35%. Known for its gang-related violence, L.A. saw a 14.4% decrease in gang-related shootings and a 2% decrease in gang-related homicides.

COVID-19 has adversely impacted businesses, leading to economic despair. Communities are on edge. People are suffering from more stress and depression than before. These, in turn, have led to the rise of violent crimes. LAPD’s police chief announced that the department is viewing these anomalies as a top priority and have begun implementing changes to address it.

New York and Chicago

Similarly, in New York, gun violence surged during the summer. The number of shooting victims has jumped by 77.5%. July stats show shootings in NYC have increased by 66.8% year-over-year. Sadly, the Fourth of July weekend saw more than 500 were wounded by gun violence. Nationwide, there have been more than 22,000 deaths by gun violence and over 19,000 injuries.

Some research suggests that the increase in gun sales may have a direct correlation with these crimes. A whopping 64% more guns were sold in the U.S. between March and May. This is over 2 million more guns than were sold during the same months in previous years.

The numbers are equally disturbing in Chicago. A report by WLS-TV states that the 37% spike in murders in Chicago far outpaces the 14.8% average increase nationwide.

Further studies

Another report released by the University of Pennsylvania shows that crimes dropped an average of 23% across the 25 cities being monitored.

Highlights of the report:

Drug crimes saw the most dramatic drop — more than 63% compared to the past five years.
Property crime dropped 19%
Violent crime dipped 15%.

New crimes rearing their heads

The quarantine has created other criminal activities, the primary one being civil disobedience. This has manifested itself in the refusal to wear masks or stay at home despite state and city restrictions.

Online shopping has seen a boom, but so has package theft. Others include speeding and more cases related to the opioid epidemic. It is horrifying to see the increased assault on law enforcement officers and medical workers (usually through coughing, sneezing, or spitting).

Other crimes that have continued and perhaps increased during the pandemic include burglaries of commercial businesses left vacant, vehicle thefts, price gouging, and financial scams. Hate crimes are on the rise across the nation, especially against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Another disturbing effect of the pandemic has been a spike in domestic and family violence. The police making fewer rounds on the streets or lesser 911 responses have perhaps embol​​dened abusers.

By Bambi Majumdar |

About the Author

Bambi Majumdar has over 18 years of industry experience in journalism, PR, and marketing communications. She is passionate about bridging the gap between the audience and brands via meaningful content. She has contributed articles to The Economic Times, the leading financial daily of India, among others. She is also active on the board for several business organizations that focus on helping small business owners and women achieve more in their respective fields.

Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission to Meet, Discuss Survey Results

The Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission will meet on Monday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m., for the first time since conducting surveys of both citizens and the public about law enforcement training in Missouri. More than 1,600 respondents took part in a survey of the public on their experiences with Missouri law enforcement and more than 450 law enforcement officers responded to a similar survey.

The meeting agenda includes a discussion of the surveys. The commissioners have previously held three public discussions of the comments received in the surveys and on their review of current training standards. This will be the first regular meeting at which action could be taken by the commission following those discussions.

The meeting agenda also calls for a presentation by Lincoln University on its application for preliminary approval for the university to pursue a license for a law enforcement basic training academy. Missouri currently has 19 licensed basic training academies. Lincoln University, located in Jefferson City, was founded in 1854 as the nation’s first degree-granting Historically Black College and University, or HBCU.

A livestream of the meeting audio will be available at (650) 479-3207. The Access Code is 133 000 1111.

Established by state statute, the POST Commission is responsible for the curriculum for law enforcement officer basic training and continuing education in Missouri. More information about the commission and Missouri’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Program is available here.

Show-Me Surveillance: Law Enforcement Navigation of Missouri’s Sunshine Law

On Sept. 1, 2018, Buffalo, New York, police officers recorded by body camera the last shift of duty in a pilot program set up to test the new but burgeoning technology. The program had begun in mid-March, when 20 Buffalo officers wore cameras during the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade – and it expanded to hundreds more officers in the months afterward. On Sept. 12, 2018, just 11 days after the pilot program ended, police responding to a call of a man with a gun shot 32-year-old Rafael Rivera six times during a foot chase, leading to Rivera’s death.3 A lawyer for Rivera’s family said the only footage from the scene came from a nearby commercial building.4

Few departments had body cameras before a series of controversial police-public interactions boosted public support for the technology in 2014 and 2015. Public outcry over the Rivera shooting and the lack of footage following Buffalo’s pilot program expiration illustrate both how quickly communities have adapted to body cameras and the public’s continued interest in transparency. From police interactions, including fatal shootings of Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and George Floyd, to stories exonerating law enforcement officers from accusations of beating suspects,5 video footage of law enforcement officer-involved actions has led to a national discussion about the nature of these interactions and the use of force by police officers.6

Experts disagree about the effect of body cameras on police behavior. Some studies have shown reductions in use-of-force incidents after body cameras are deployed,7 while others have shown no difference.8 But the biggest challenge, in many ways, to the use of this technology has arisen in terms of the methods of storage of the data acquired via the cameras and the creation of open records laws relating to access to that data by members of the public. An enormous increase in government information storage loomed when body cameras were embraced by then-president Barack Obama, who approved federal funding of body cameras for law enforcement officers.9 A television news syndicate surveyed the percentage of law enforcement agencies using policy body cameras in the viewership areas they broadcast to and found 38% of those 400 agencies used body cameras.10

Missouri’s local law enforcement departments are not permitted to hand off state Sunshine Law responsibilities to third parties with one exception – when “the granting of such right is necessary to facilitate coordination with, or uniformity among, industry regulators having similar authority.”11 This issue will prove challenging with the widespread use of police officer body cameras, increased digital storage needs created by this technology, and related privacy concerns and Sunshine requests generated by this new technology.

Part I of this article explains the current climate surrounding police body cameras and the call by many commentators, including law enforcement officials, to outfit all law enforcement officers who interact with the public with those cameras. Part I concludes by examining the digital storage demands created by body cameras and how this increase has prompted offers for free cloud-based records retention.

Part II of this article examines the current context of police records laws, as well as explores the limits of what records can be farmed out to third-party vendors in Missouri. This portion of the article also includes information on bi-partisan attempts by federal lawmakers to help local law enforcement agencies buy body camera systems. Part II also hones in on Missouri Revised Statutes § 610.02312 –  which prevents local governments from handing off to “any person or entity, whether by contract, license or otherwise, the exclusive right to access and disseminate any public record unless the granting of such right is necessary to facilitate coordination with, or uniformity among, industry regulators having similar authority.”

As with other technology issues, the development within one segment of technology of a single standard for the industry to use – think VHS supplanting Betamax video cassette tapes, or Blu-ray beating HD DVD – leads to de facto national standards. For digital data captured by police body cameras, the issue of rapidly advancing technology creates conflicts with traditional Sunshine Law requirements. Law enforcement seeking storage capabilities find third-party contractors eager to provide solutions, but these solutions do not easily allow meeting statutory open-record mandates. Missouri § 610.023, read plainly, does not allow much wiggle room on the topic.

In Part III, the article examines why a single exception to the physical custody requirement of Missouri’s Sunshine Law, combined with the common natural progression of technological innovation, could lead to changes in how Missourians may access their public documents – including police camera footage. Finally, this article points out that a single sentence in the governing statute could be the key to allowing third-party vendors to play a larger role in processing both police body camera footage and requests from the public for that data.

Part I: New Technologies and Long-Held Battles Create the Need for Recording and Retention of Interactions Between Police and The Public

While body cameras have been embraced by the public and many leaders in law enforcement, the issue of paying for the cameras and related costs has given pause to many cities.13 As technology continues to make the cameras and hardware better, the price of data storage has remained static. Typically, the plastic-encased cameras are about the size of a cell phone and include a clip. Smaller models can be attached to sunglasses or a hat.14 Prices range from $120 to $900, and include options like high definition, water resistance, and night vision.15 Following a shift on the streets, law enforcement officers may take up to an hour to upload data. Depending on the requirements of their jurisdiction, time spent uploading may replace incident reports that were once written entirely on paper forms. Because local departments would need massive storage upgrades to store body camera footage, cloud-based storage is widely considered the only option in the industry. Cloud storage is the use of a network of computer servers connected through the internet.16 Each officer outfitted with a body camera may generate between 1.5 and 2 terabytes of data annually.17 For comparison, a single terabyte can store as many as 728,177 floppy discs or 1,498 CD-ROM disks.18 Individual body cameras purchased by most departments are estimated to cost between $400 and $1,000 per officer. That figure, however, pales in comparison to the costs associated with storing the footage.19

Some early adopters of the technology are stepping back from body cameras after seeing high data storage costs and personnel work time, which are estimated to cost more than $1,200 annually per camera and an hour of data uploading per shift.20 Technological advances led to the use of body cameras by police officers – and further innovation will make the use of more police cameras a question of how, not if, they come to virtually every law enforcement agency. Even if cities could swallow camera and data storage costs, the advent of body cameras spark myriad issues. Costs to edit include both time and content as departments releasing video footage must be able to edit the file to meet Sunshine Law requests. Privacy concerns may be associated with some police interactions that occur inside residential homes and around minors and other parties. Departments must be able to edit video and make timely responses to Sunshine Law requests.

To solve the problem, certain companies have offered solutions for overburdened law enforcement organizations. Among the industry’s giants is Axon, formerly known as Taser. The company has branded its name onto body camera footage.21 Axon has offered police departments free body cameras, in addition to a year of free data storage.22 Axon, which sold an estimated three-fourths of all body cameras as of 2016, is expected to profit much more with its subscription cloud storage program for cameras, The website allows district attorneys and other law enforcement offices to view the footage by using a special browser. New York’s police department, facing a court order to begin a pilot program for body cameras, decided to outfit 1,000 officers with VIEVU, Axon’s rival.24 The complicated nature of data storage and formatting standards were made public when VIEVU, Axon’s biggest competitor, described its view of the free camera offer. “Axon’s publicity stunt is at best unethical and at worst illegal,” the Seattle-based company said in a statement. “These so-called ‘free cameras’ come with significant internal implementation costs for law enforcement agencies that will be left with unusable raw data at the end of the year-long trial period.”25 Of note, Axon acquired VIEVU in May 2018.

David McClure, a justice systems scientist and research associate with the non-partisan Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, explained that the data collected through police body cameras creates big business for body camera companies.26 For example, Axon’s platform offers police departments audio and video transcription services, automated redaction, evidence auditing trails, CJIS-compliant data security, and more.27 “On the business side of police body worn cameras, the most important thing is the data,” McClure said. “Police body cameras can seem like a simple and intuitive policy solution, but things can quickly become complicated and expensive once policymakers need to make decisions about how to handle the data these cameras collect.”28

Part II: Looking to the Statutes

What Does Missouri Law Say?
Missouri’s laws will carry enormous weight as technology changes public information requests. Missouri is one of 23 states (and the District of Columbia) to have passed legislation to address body camera data and open record laws specifically. Approved in 2016, Missouri has now added references to “mobile video recordings” to § 610.100,29 the statute governing definitions of arrest records and incident reports. The law requires video recordings of arrests to be maintained by local departments and limits recordings in non-public locations to be private unless requested by a person or close relative of the person recorded in the video.30 Anyone is allowed to file an action at the circuit court level to have video data disclosed, and courts are required to consider the benefit to the person bringing the action in relation to the harm imposed on the public, law enforcement, or any person in the recording.31 The statute also provides:

(3) In making the determination as to whether a mobile video recording shall be disclosed, the court shall consider:
(a) Whether the benefit to the person bringing the action or the benefit to the public outweighs any harm to the public, to the law enforcement agency or any of its officers, or to any person identified in the mobile video recording with respect to the need for law enforcement agencies to effectively investigate and prosecute criminal activity;
(b) Whether the mobile video recording contains information that is reasonably likely to disclose private matters in which the public has no legitimate concern;
(c) Whether the mobile video recording is reasonably likely to bring shame or humiliation to a person of ordinary sensibilities; and
(d) Whether the mobile recording was taken in a place where a person recorded or depicted has a reasonable expectation of privacy.32

More specific than § 610.100, however, is § 610.023. In that section, the legislature recognized a trend of local governments entering into contracts with large third-party information vendors during the 1990s.33 The vendors typically had contracts granting them exclusive rights to manipulate and distribute government records. The law specifically states that no government entity shall “grant to any person or entity, whether by contract, license or otherwise, the exclusive right to access and disseminate any public record unless the granting of such right is necessary to facilitate coordination with, or uniformity among, industry regulators having similar authority.”34 Section 610.023 has been viewed as a way of protecting taxpayers from being forced to pay a commercial operation for merely accessing data owned by Missouri citizens.35

Additionally, § 610.024 requires public bodies to separate information deemed not public information from otherwise public information when responding to Sunshine Law requests.36 While editing and redacting documents is time consuming, editing video requires additional skills with more potential ramifications than most documents.

While public debate over body camera footage dissemination is often perceived as divided between pro-law enforcement and anti-government factions, much concern has come instead from individual privacy interests. The release of unedited video or a picture and name, combined with the viral nature of social media, creates a long list of potential legal and moral concerns.37 The release of video and pictures is at the feet of local records custodians.

Whether third-party entities can become custodians of body camera footage may depend on whether they are deemed a “custodian” with a “primary purpose” of contracting with states. The state has generally not allowed local governments to avoid Sunshine Law responsibilities merely through the creation of a separate governmental body or board.38

The state’s case law has fleshed out much of the meaning of Missouri’s Sunshine Laws, including whether a government department’s opportunity to receive federal grant money can be used as a reason to limit law enforcement incident reports.39 One of Missouri’s most cited decisions involving § 610.023 held that when a board of directors created by a public hospital had been appointed by the city to be a records custodian, this required compliance with state Sunshine Laws and responses to public requests.40 Such responsibilities may not extend to separately created entities that are not created solely to handle government business.41 Companies acting merely as conduits for data created by a government department may not be deemed “custodians.”

And one of Missouri’s leading appellate cases concerning “custodians” and responsibilities of responding to Sunshine Law requests held that a state IT department, acting only as a facilitator of data for a different governmental department, had no obligation to facilitate a Sunshine Law request and could not release information while responding to a request from the public.42 Courts, however, have held law enforcement departments in Missouri accountable when they attempt to avoid Sunshine Law requests based on the request lacking specificity in terms of the department head responsible as records custodian.43 Law enforcement has also frequently invoked the exemption for internal employee records for requests about employee discipline, often with mixed results.44

The balance of privacy versus public interest has also instructed holdings of whether government departments are responsible to respond to certain Sunshine Law requests.45 Many cases favor transparency,46 and often allude to a deference toward transparency to meet U.S. Constitutional and state statutory requirements.47 When instances occur where some content in a response to Sunshine Law requests is exempted, state courts have asked the responding entity to separate exempted from public material to release what can be made public.48

That deference toward making information public is not absolute. Missouri’s highest court in 2016 issued a ruling that is likely to discourage some potential plaintiffs of Sunshine Law cases concerning any public information. In Laut v. City of Arnold,49 the court held even when a city does violate Sunshine Law requests after police employees illegally accessed individuals’ personal records held in a regional law enforcement database, as long as the errors were not knowing or purposeful, plaintiffs weren’t owed penalties or attorneys’ fees. (The issue of the scope of a “knowing violation” versus a “purposeful” one is a separate issue and too lengthy to address in the context of this article.)

How Have Other States Treated Body Camera Footage and Other Public Documents?
Nationally, courts appear to be mostly consistent with Missouri caselaw. Persuasive precedent favors transparency, buffeted by protection of privacy interests for citizens and upholding the duty of public bodies to turn over open records requests in good faith.

Balancing those interests has led to different results, occasionally within the same state. Appellate courts in New York have affirmed the public interest in body camera footage.50 Most recently, a federal district court in California balanced public interests and the violation of a court order when considering body camera footage of officers breaking the leg of a woman who refused to let them into her home without a warrant.51 Though the woman was required to pay $69,000 through her attorneys for posting the video in violation of a court order, her $7 million settlement with the city remained in place.52 The court found similarly in Mendez v. City of Gardena, in which body camera footage was unsealed after media organizations intervened and persuaded the court that protecting judicial documents was less valuable than the importance of the First Amendment and transparency.53 In New Jersey, a superior court judge ruled in September 2018 that body camera footage should not automatically fall under a criminal investigation exemption. A showdown over proper exemption of police camera footage may loom,54 as the superior court decision followed the Garden State’s supreme court holding that police dash camera footage should be exempted.55

In cases dealing with public documents in general, holdings have turned on the issue of whether information is in the state’s physical possession and custody – or if the material is copyrighted. Courts around the United States have also considered the validity of prices charged for Freedom of Information Act responses, weighing access to public information with realistic concerns for departments that are occasionally charged with combing through many detailed reports to answer citizen requests. The sheer cost of examining, editing, and releasing information can also be a detriment both to the public department and the information requester – particularly in jurisdictions with small budgets and limited technology.56 Perhaps more meaningful to criminal defendants and others captured by body camera footage in the future, the U.S. Supreme Court has held for decades that private parties may not intervene to enjoin the release of information under the federal Freedom of Information Act.57

As a testament to the breadth of ripe challenges able to be made under state and federal open record procedures, rulings in the summer of 2018 demonstrate the relevance of transparency amid the explosion of available footage from body cameras.58 Similar to apparent contradictions in state courts mentioned in the article’s previous section, regions and federal circuits often show the difficulty of balancing public interest with individual rights.59 When the rights of third parties are considered, courts have held in favor of releasing as much information as possible with appropriate redactions.60 In August 2018, a court allowed the family of a woman killed by police to obtain body camera footage of the event for the purpose of pursuing legal claims against the city and law enforcement individuals.61 Other persuasive decisions62 have turned63 on control and possession of records and on the term “custodian.”64 Third-party vendors have typically been held to the same standards as the government departments for which they work.65 Not even copyrighted materials in the custody of public departments have been protected from open record requests.66 On the other hand, departments keeping video evidence may retain other advantages of being the custodian while getting the benefit of the doubt for missing or limited video footage. Courts have considered the control police have of video from the time of incident up until discovery motions at trial. Appellate courts in Ohio (in 2018),67 Delaware (in 2017),68 and federal district courts69 have examined limited or lost footage sought by private citizens in their actions, including a federal court holding in favor of a plaintiff objecting to “widespread and inconsistent redaction of documents.”70 Attempts to exempt information by citing laws like the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 have similarly come under fire.71

Among the nation’s weakest state public information laws is North Carolina’s, which has faced criticism for allowing police to determine what body camera footage may become public, for any reason.72 North Carolina’s public records law exempts all records of criminal investigations. The state defines “record” as “information that pertains to a person or group of persons that is compiled by a public law enforcement agency in an effort to anticipate, prevent, or monitor possible violations of the law.”73 Calls for reform of the records law in light of body cameras are likely to spread throughout the United States.74  Even so, advocates for more government transparency might hesitate to open floodgates of body camera or other information too wide. Several states enforce swift repercussions for public agencies that share information in violation of information statutes.75

Part III: Development of a Standard Could Lead to Loophole

The Nature of Technological Assimilation May Exempt Body Camera Footage From Missouri’s Sunshine Law
The tremendous increase in stored data needs, combined with important policy decisions necessary for the maintenance and release of videos to the public, leave a void. This void is one that private security vendors like Axon are eager to fill. If one, two, or even a few vendors provide body camera storage services to several large law enforcement agencies, a de facto national standard will have been created.76 Other technologies with similar aims of safeguarding data, including data encryption,77 have seen de facto national standards emerge to fill critical needs dictated by the government data market. This pattern of a single standard coalescing technological advancements is consistent throughout the post-internet era.78 Politicians and philosophers alike have criticized consolidation of information channels, including Facebook and Twitter, and the subsequent monopoly of news and opinion now wielded by social media giants.79

The application of new, national de facto standards for the gathering, storage, and release of body camera footage could well qualify for § 610.023(2)’s exception.80 Because many technology and software-driven industries evolve from the introduction of several new forms to the emergence of one or a few leading standards,81 Axon could well become the standard model. As in similar industries,82 the two could even work together to create a single technological standard for police body camera video storage and software. Many have opined on the benefits and perils of market-driven technological standards83 —  and whether84 the government should intervene85 in standard setting and data collection.

Model Legislation to Address Concerns Re: Public Information

Missouri’s § 610.023’s exception allowing government departments to contract the custodianship of public documents may prove to be the state Sunshine Law’s single yet most important sentence. While “regulators” are singled out as the reason government departments may be allowed to contract public information custodianship, the practicality and efficiency offered by third-party vendors such as Axon seems tailor-made to create needed uniformity among police departments and sheriff’s offices throughout the state.

“It is the fundamental policy of the Missouri Sunshine Law to foster openness in government.”86 As both Missouri courts and the legislature have made plain, the very purpose of Missouri’s Sunshine Law is to bring access of public information to the people.

Since the purpose of Missouri’s Sunshine Law is tied closely to both public access to information and protection of individual privacy, Missouri can protect both interests while maintaining a realistic approach as technology changes law enforcement and boosts the volume of available information. Model legislation could retain the current language of §§ 610.023 and 610.100 while ensuring body camera footage and other public information is accessible by the public. The legislation could merely be modified by adding:

Public information requests made through Missouri’s Sunshine Law shall be processed at the local government office level, regardless of whether such information is stored on third-party servers, is maintained by third parties, or is permanently or temporarily in the possession of any other individual, entity, or state department. No exceptions shall be applied to this portion of the law.

Such an addition would maintain the law’s strength in keeping the gates of government open to Missouri citizens. Perhaps more importantly, the model legislation would ensure department employees and the elected officials that oversee them remain responsible for responding to Sunshine Law requests.


From Missouri’s streets to its highest appellate and Supreme Court chambers, law enforcement body cameras will continue to usher in a new era of legal interpretation, much of it guided by § 610.023. Missouri’s Sunshine Law has a strong foothold in the promotion of public access to all government-created documents – which makes the third-party custody of body camera footage less likely. As stated throughout this article, however, the single exception to § 610.023 for purposes of conforming to uniform standard met by other states could pave the way for Missourians to be forced to go through a third party to access body camera footage – against the apparent intentions of the legislature that crafted the law. This appears likely, as body camera data technology shares similar goals and trajectory with other emerging data innovations.87

Legislation like the model legislation proposed in this article could do much to recognize rapidly changing technology while strengthening Missouri’s traditionally well-regarded Sunshine Law. Regardless of actions taken at the local level or interpretations made much later, the twin tent poles of transparency and individual privacy will guide much of the coming caselaw. Courts would do well to remember a phrase from an oft-cited appellate opinion in the mid-1990s – a period of time bridging the “Show-Me State’s” navigation of post-analog technologies to an era of cameras recording every law enforcement officers’ move: “The open meetings and records law recognizes that the public has an interest in seeing how its government operates…”88


1  Jean Maneke, principal at The Maneke Law Group, L.C., represents a number of media entities, including the Missouri Press Association, and in that role has worked with state legislators in crafting a number of changes to the state’s open meetings/open records law during her career.  

2  Charles Morasch graduated from the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law in May 2019 and was admitted to The Missouri Bar in September 2019. His passion for the First Amendment comes from 15 years of journalism experience before law school. Since October, he has worked to analyze data breaches and cybercrimes and claims for AXIS Capital.

3  Ron Plants, Buffalo Police Look at Bodycams, Video Release, (Sept. 18, 2018,

4  WGRZ staff, Six Shots Fired in Deadly Buffalo Police Involved Shooting, (Sept. 17, 2018,

5 Hannah Grover, Body Camera Footage Clears Officer’s Name, Farmington Daily Times (Feb. 2, 2017,

6  Jennifer De Pinto, Sarah Dutton, Anthony Salvanto & Fred Backus, Michael Brown and Eric Garner: The Police, Use of Force and Race, CBS News(Dec. 10, 2014,

7  Anthony Braga, James R. Coldren, William Sousa, Denise Rodriguez & Omer Alper, The Benefits of Body-Worn Cameras: New Findings From a Randomized Controlled Trial at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, (2017).

8  See Peter Hermann, Police Officers with Body Cameras Are as Likely To Use Force as Those Who Don’t Have Them, Wash. Post (Oct. 20, 2017, Police chiefs have called for more cameras to create clear, unbiased accounts of citizen-officer interactions, and pointed to evidence that use of force does not decrease due to the officers wearing body cameras.

9  Justin Sink, Obama to Provide Funding for 50,000 Police Body Cameras, The Hill (Dec. 1, 2014),

10  Samantha Manning, How many police departments use body cameras, surplus military equipment?, WPXI (July 2, 2020),

11   Section 610.023, RSMo (2018). (“Each public governmental body shall make available for inspection and copying by the public of that body’s public records. No person shall remove original public records from the office of a public governmental body or its custodian without written permission of the designated custodian. No public governmental body shall, after August 28, 1998, grant to any person or entity, whether by contract, license or otherwise, the exclusive right to access and disseminate any public record unless the granting of such right is necessary to facilitate coordination with, or uniformity among, industry regulators having similar authority.”).

12  Section 610.023, RSMo (2018).

13  See Body-cameras a worthwhile but expensive tool, law enforcement says, (Mar. 5, 2016,

14  Here’s How Police Body Cameras Work, NBC (Dec. 2, 2014,

15  Id.

16  See Adam Clark Estes, What Is the Cloud and Where Is It?, Gizmodo (Jan. 29, 2015, (“If your data lives ‘in the cloud,’ it actually lives on a company’s server, and you more or less pay a membership fee to work in that company’s sandbox. Depending on that company’s terms of service, you may or may not actually own or control that data once it lives in cloud storage. This raises a few glaring concerns in terms of security and privacy.”).

17  Telephone interview with David McClure, justice systems scientist and research associate, Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center (Sept. 21, 2018).

18  Tim Fischer, Terabytes, Gigabytes, & Petabytes: How Big Are They?, Lifewire (May 10, 2018),

19  Jason Kowtowski, Money, Storage Primary Obstacles in Police Body Camera Implementation, Bakersfield Californian (Mar. 5, 2016,

20  Tamara Vaifanua, Pleasant Grove Police Scraps Body Cams; Cites High Cost of Storage, (Oct. 11, 2016),

21  See embedded video at Brendan Koerner, It Started as an Online Gaming Prank. Then It Turned Deadly, Wired (Oct. 23, 2018),

22  Jackie Wattles, This Company Is Offering Free Body Cameras to Every Cop in the U.S., CNN (Apr. 5, 2017),

23  Elizabeth Joh, Free Police Body Cameras Come with a Price, Slate (Apr. 5, 2017),

24  Graham Rayman, NYPD Declines Taser Maker’s Offer of Free Body Cameras for Every Cop in U.S., N.Y. Daily News (Apr. 5, 2017),

25  Id.

26  Supra NBC News note 15, at

27  See, (last visited Dec. 17, 2018).

28  Telephone interview with David McClure, justice systems scientist and research associate, Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center (Sept. 21, 2018).

29  Section 610.100, RSMo (2019).

30  Id.

31  Id.

32  Id.

33   Section 610.023, RSMo (2019).

34  Id.

35  Jean Maneke, The Sun Shines a Little Brighter: Changes to Chapter 610, 55 J. Mo. B. 22, 23, (1999).

36  “We also held that [Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.024.1] applies also and requires any non-exempt material to be separated from any exempt material so that it can be disclosed.” Laut v. City of Arnold, No. ED101801 (Mo. App. E.D. Oct. 6, 2015). See also Laut v. City of Arnold, 491 S.W.3d 191 (Mo. 2016), where the Supreme Court of Missouri held a city must knowingly or purposely violate a state Sunshine Law before being subject to penalties.

37  In October 2018, Jackson County, Missouri, prosecutors said two murders in a public area resulted in one victim’s family learning of a man’s death by seeing a violent picture posted from the scene onto social media. Kaitlyn Schwers, 21-Year-Old Took Marijuana From Dead Man’s Hand Following KC Shooting, Records Say, Kansas City Star (Oct. 5, 2018),

38  North Kan. City Hosp. Bd. of Trustees v. St. Luke’s Northland Hosp., 984 S.W.2d 113, 1998 (Mo. App. W.D. 1957).

39  Bauer v. Kincaid, 759 F. Supp. 575 (W.D. Mo. 1991), holding that campus police incident reports were subject to Missouri Sunshine laws because they were in the control of the state board of regents and should be turned over to the editor of a university newspaper.

40  E.g., North Kansas City, 984 S.W.2d at 113.

41  Just two years after North Kan. City Hosp. Bd. of Trustees, an appellate court criticized that holding, saying a “quasi-governmental” association of insurance commissioners doing business with states should only be considered public if the entity’s primary purpose included carrying out state business. (SNL Secs v. National Ass’n of Ins. Comm’rs, 23 S.W.3d 734 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000).

42  State ex rel. Daly v. Info. Tech. Servs. Agency, 417 S.W.3d 804 (Mo. App. E.D. 2013).

43  See Pennington v. Dobbs, 235 S.W.3d 77 (Mo. App. S.D. 2007), holding that a pro se inmate was due responses to his request for public documents. A police chief had denied being the custodian of the requested documents, and the sheriff did not reply to the Sunshine Law requests.

44  See Chasnoff v. Mokwa, 466 S.W.3d 571 (Mo. App. E.D. 2015), holding that an investigation into St. Louis police officers scalping confiscated World Series tickets was held not to be exempted from a lawful request under § 610.023.

45  Jones v. Hous. Auth. of Kan. City, 174 S.W.3d 594 (Mo. App. W.D. 2005), (holding that not disclosing highly personal identifying information in records of public housing tenants trumped the public’s interest in the documents.)

46  Remington v. Boonville, 701 S.W.2d 804, 1985 (Mo. App.  W.D. 1985), (holding that a property adjustment board improperly closed a meeting when discussing the merits of a builder’s permit application.) “The court also reasoned that the exemption to the ‘Sunshine Law’ that Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.025(1) provided for certain judicial activities, but not any activity of an administrative board, showed an intent to subject the board’s deliberative sessions and all of its other meetings to the open meeting requirements of the ‘Sunshine Law.’”

47  ACLU of Mo. Found. v. Mo. Dep’t of Corr., 504 S.W.3d 150 (Mo. App. W.D. 2016) (holding a trial court was correct in finding the state department of corrections willfully violated Missouri’s Sunshine Law by redacting names of chemical suppliers used in administering euthanasia.) Others parse favoring the naming of entities as public while keeping open investigations private.

48  News-Press & Gazette Co. v. Cathcart, 974 S.W.2d 576 (Mo. App. W.D. 1998) (holding a medical examiner’s office to be a public body but said an autopsy was an investigative report, and therefore could be exempted from the court’s interpretation of the state Sunshine Law.)

49  491 S.W.3d 191 (Mo. 2016).

50  Matter of Time Warner Cable News NY1 v. New York City Police Dept., 53 Misc. 3d 657, 36 N.Y.S.3d 579 (2016), (holding that a TV reporter’s FOIA petition to the New York Police Department did not unduly burden the city by creating a need to remove or blur some portions of body camera footage likely subject to FOIA exemptions. The city was not allowed to pass those editing costs on to the reporter.)

51  Harmon v. City of Santa Clara, 323 F.R.D. 617 (N.D. Cal. 2018), The city agreed to a $7 million settlement one day before the plaintiff posted 12 minutes of the video on YouTube, linking it to Facebook – violating a court order that the video remain sealed. The court did allow for $69,000 in fees to be paid by the plaintiff’s attorneys to the city and individual officers for their role in advising her to release the video.

52  Id.

53  222 F. Supp. 3d 78= (C.D. Cal. 2015). (The case involved three of four officers opening fire on unarmed suspects after a robbery and bicycle theft at a CVS pharmacy.)

54  Samantha Marcus, Judge Rules N.J. Police Body Camera Footage Can Be Released To The Public, NJ Advance Media (Sept. 24, 2018),

55  Paff v. Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, 235 N.J. 1, 192 A.3d 975 (2018) (holding that footage from a dashboard camera was part of an investigatory record, and therefore not subject to release under the state’s Open Public Records Act.)

56  King v. Mich. State Police Dep’t, 841 N.W.2d 914 (Mich. Ct. App. 2013) (ruling that a murder victim’s family’s request for information from Michigan State Police about a serial murderer investigation legitimately required $5,600 in charges to be paid by the family.)

57  Chrysler Corp. v. Brown, 441 U.S. 281 (1979).

58  MuckRock, LLC v. CIA, 300 F. Supp. 3d 108 (D.C. 2018) (holding that a private company’s challenge of FOIA policies at the Central Intelligence Agency should be upheld, including a request for the CIA’s email response policy itself.)

59  Two federal appellate rulings out of the D.C. circuit have demonstrated competing interests prompted by body cameras. In July 2018, the court held that Washington D.C. law enforcement could not shift the burden of body camera footage inspection, redaction, and release to a plaintiff suing after his criminal arrest (United States v. Johnson, 314 F. Supp. 3d 248 (D.D.C. 2018). Weeks later, the court held body camera footage must be obtained by submitting FOIA requests specifically. United States v. Kingsbury, 325 F. Supp. 3d 158 (D.D.C. 2018).

60  Compare Kagan v. Ginsberg (Conn. Super. Ct., 1997), where a daycare provider plaintiff FOI’d documents related to an investigation of child abuse against her business, but state commissioner declined, saying information related to third parties would be compromised, violating exemptions of the FOI law, with Sargent v. Seattle Police Dep’t, 314 P.3d 1093 (Wash. 2013), (where the Washington State Supreme Court held a police department’s decision improper after the department denied a request for a criminal investigation report after the investigation was complete and the case was turned over to a prosecutor for a charging decision.)

61  Steele v. City of Burlington, 334 F. Supp. 3d 972 (S.D. Iowa Aug. 14, 2018).

62  Compare Lukes v. Dep’t of Pub. Welfare, 976 A.2d 609 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2009), where a Pennsylvania court reversed an administrative law judge’s decision that an agency had to have immediate, physical possession of a record in order to be required to produce it under the Pennsylvania open records law, with Dental Benefit Providers, Inc. v. Eiseman, 86 A.3d 932 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2014), holding that personal communications and payroll information of private companies unrelated to government business were not public documents.

63  One potential danger for those seeking transparency includes the hassle of wading through semantics when determining the proper custodian of a record.  In Transparent GMU v. George Mason Univ., 97 Va. Cir. 212 (Cir. Ct. 2017), a court held that a university was not a custodian. Instead, a doctor serving as university vice president and as president of the university foundation was the custodian and had served in that function not through her power as university vice president but in a capacity solely through the foundation. The public record request was denied. The court said Virginia’s law requires a public body to produce records it possesses but does not require them to search for records held by third parties.

64  State ex rel. Cincinnati Enquirer v. Hamilton County, 662 N.E.2d 334 (Ohio 1996) (holding that even 911 tapes in custody of employees who were not police investigators were subject to freedom of information requests).

65  Project Vote, Inc. v. Kemp, 208 F. Supp. 3d 1320 (N.D. Ga. 2016) (holding that a political group filing an information request from a third-party vendor responsible for maintaining voter registration records failed to properly provide enough information to obtain a response).

66  Ali v. Phila. City Planning Comm’n, 125 A.3d 92 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2015) (holding that copyrighted materials submitted to a city planning commission could be disseminated after a public records request despite their nature as copyrighted materials.)

67  See State v. McGuire (Ohio App. 2018), (holding that a felony murder defendant had no evidence police destroyed body camera footage in bad faith, and therefore, even if his allegation of Brady violations combined with his own self-defense were correct, the criminal defendant had no case (citing Arizona v. Youngblood, 488 U.S. 51 (1988). “Unless a criminal defendant can show bad faith on the part of the police, failure to preserve potentially useful evidence does not constitute a denial of due process of law.”)

68  State v. Moore, 2017 No. 16006943 (Del. Super. Ct.) (holding in favor of police in a destruction of body camera evidence case after a car-driving defendant denied giving consent to search the vehicle. The officer believed his body camera was on, but later learned there was no footage of the consent request and alleged approval. The court gave the officer the benefit of the doubt.)

69  Reeners v. Troup (M.D. Tenn. 2017), holding that it was “concerning” that body camera footage never showed a face to face evaluation of psychosis for an arrestee examined after allegedly threatening city employees and acting unstable.

70  Id.

71  Kirwan v. The Diamondback, 721 A.2d 196 (Md. 1998) (holding that the school could not cite federal obligations under FERPA as a reason to deny information under the state’s sunshine law regarding whether university basketball players and coaches obtained parking tickets.)

72  Cf. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 132-1.4 (2018).

73  Id.

74   Brian Liebman, The Watchman Blinded: Does the North Carolina Public Records Law Frustrate The Purpose of Police Body Cameras? 94 N.C.L. Rev. 344, 344 (2015).

75  Stromberg Metal Works, Inc. v. Univ. of Md., 382 Md. 151, 854 A.2d 1220, describing how Maryland’s public information laws favor interpretations of transparency, but also carry both civil and criminal penalties for any individual who knowingly and willfully permits inspection of a public record in violation of the PIA.

76  Similar de facto standards have been created with requirements for state programs like RealID. Tarun Wadhwa, We Don’t Need A National ID Card, Forbes (Feb. 6, 2013),

77  Arxan Cryptographic Key And Data Protection Awarded FIPS 140-2 Certification, Marketwired (Feb. 28, 2017),

78  See Antitrust and the Internet Standardization Problem, 28 Conn. L. Rev. 1041, 1052, describing the “nature of the Internet, and indeed of most computer software markets, is such that a single standard is likely to emerge as the dominant one at each of several levels of performance.”

79  See David Kaye, Commentary: How To ‘Fix’ Social Media Without Censorship,, (June 20, 2018), (“Even democratic societies resent this power over their public space. As one liberal European politician put it, ‘No one wants a Ministry of Truth, but I am also not reassured when Silicon Valley or Mark Zuckerberg are the de facto designers of our realities or of our truths.’”)

80  Section 610.023 (1): “Each public governmental body shall make available for inspection and copying by the public of that body’s public records. No person shall remove original public records from the office of a public governmental body or its custodian without written permission of the designated custodian. No public governmental body shall, after August 28, 1998, grant to any person or entity, whether by contract, license or otherwise, the exclusive right to access and disseminate any public record unless the granting of such right is necessary to facilitate coordination with, or uniformity among, industry regulators having similar authority.”

81  See Tim Hanlon, HD DVD vs. Blu-Ray: The Endgame,, (Feb. 12, 2008),

82  See United States v. Visa U.S.A., Inc., 163 F. Supp. 2d 322, 356 (S.D.N.Y. 2001), where when considering anti-trust and Sherman Act violations between Visa and Mastercard, the court weighed benefits for consumers when competitors work for a single technological standard, “…it is desirable to have some cooperation in setting the standards for the development of security technology for e-commerce.”

83  See Richard Stern, Who Should Own the Benefits of Standardization and The Value It Creates?, 19 Minn. J.L. Sci. & Tech. 107 (2018).

84  See Adam Thierer, The Internet of Things And Wearable Technology: Addressing Privacy And Security Concerns Without Derailing Innovation, 21 Rich. J.L. & Tech. 6, 62-63 (2015). “Moreover, the sophistication of many of these devices and the sheer amount of data they collect make it difficult to devise a workable notice and choice regime that can foresee every possible misuse. As the recent White House Big Datareport noted, ‘Big data technologies, together with the sensors that ride on the “Internet of Things,” pierce many spaces that were previously private. Always-on wearable technologies with voice and video interfaces and the arrival of whole classes of networked devices will only expand information collection still further. This sea of ubiquitous sensors, each of which has legitimate uses, make the notion of limiting information collection challenging, if not impossible.’”

85  Cf. Stacy Baird, Ethical Reflections On The Future of Technology Policy: The Government At The Standards Bazaar, 18 Stan. L. & Pol’y Rev 35 (2005), (favoring little governmental interference of the setting of technological standards.)

86  Bauer v. Kincaid, 759 F. Supp. 575, 581 (W.D. Mo. 1991).

87  Visa, 163 F. Supp. 2d at 322, 356.

88  State ex rel. Missouri Local Gov’t Retirement Sys. v. Bill, 935 S.W.2d 659 (Mo. App. W.D. 1996).

By Jean Maneke and Charles Morasch for The Missouri Bar

About the Authors

Jean Maneke
Jean Maneke, principal at The Maneke Law Group, L.C., represents a number of media entities, including the Missouri Press Association, and in that role has worked with state legislators in crafting a number of changes to the state’s open meetings/open records law during her career.

Charles Morasch
Charles Morasch graduated from the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law in May 2019 and was admitted to The Missouri Bar in September 2019. His passion for the First Amendment comes from 15 years of journalism experience before law school. Since October, he has worked to analyze data breaches and cybercrimes and claims for AXIS Capital.

The Association between ACEs and Criminal Justice Involvement: Becoming Trauma Informed: An Essential Element for Justice Settings Webinar Series

Becoming Trauma Informed: An Essential Element for Justice Settings Webinar Series

This is a Series of three Webinars: These webinars will be recorded and made available on the NIC website. Each of the webinar events contain valuable information regarding trauma in justice-involved populations, but participation in each event in sequence is not required. Please note that registering for the first event scheduled for October 26, does not include registration for the two subsequent events; November 2 and November 9. A separate email will publicize that event, and a separate registration will be required for each webinar, as content will be different. Participants who are unable to log on for each event, can access the webinar recordings for all of the webinars in the series when posted.

Dates and Times:
The Association between ACEs and Criminal Justice Involvement: October 26, 2020
Trauma-Informed Treatment and Theory: November 2, 2020
Becoming Trauma Informed and Moving to Trauma Responsive: November 9, 2020

Webinar Start Times (All Sessions):

10-11:15 am PT/ 11am-1:15pm MT/ 12-1:15pm CT/ 1-2:15 pm ET

Each session is 75 minutes.

Webinar Summary:
With increased awareness of the effects of stress, adversity, and trauma on people’s lives, criminal justice professionals are considering what this means in their correctional settings. There is growing evidence of the effects of child neglect and abuse (as well as other forms of traumatic stress) on the health, mental health, and behavior of men and women residing in jails and prisons.

While research and clinical experience indicate that there is a high incidence of trauma and co-occurring problems among these groups, corrections professionals struggle to provide them with effective management and services. It is particularly challenging when many institutions have staff who are affected by trauma in their personal and work lives.

Organizational stress and trauma create additional challenges in the environment and culture of the workplace. Moving from trauma informed to trauma responsive to implement trauma-informed care can be challenging.

The webinar speakers have extensive experience in delivering trauma informed education and services to the men and women in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as well as other state and local agencies nationally. This webinar series guides administrators and correctional staff through the process and will provide updated information and research.

Webinar Objectives:
The primary goals of this three-part webinar series are to:

  • Provide criminal justice, mental health, and substance use treatment professionals with up-to-date information regarding trauma-informed care within the criminal justice system.
  • Provide information on the lifelong effects of trauma, recovery needs, and implementation of trauma-focused treatment interventions (including research findings).
  • Provide an outline for the process of becoming a trauma-informed organization.


Maureen Buell, Correctional Program Specialist, National Institute of Corrections
Stephanie Covington, Ph.D., LCSW, Co-Director, Center for Gender and Justice
Nena Messina, Ph.D., Research Criminologist at UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs and President of Envisioning Justice Solutions, Inc.

Who Should Attend?
A wide audience can benefit from the webinar series including criminal justice officials, treatment program personnel, county and state mental health and social service professionals. The three-part program is also beneficial to existing treatment programs seeking to increase staff skills on gender-responsive and trauma-informed interventions in prisons, jails, and community corrections. Correctional staff may also benefit from the training to increase their understanding of the complex issues surrounding the supervision of incarcerated men and women with histories of trauma and abuse, as well as the potential effect of trauma on themselves.

How Do I Register?
Follow this link to register in NIC’s WebEx Event Center for webinar one 20C7506A:

Stay tuned for future messages from NIC that reminds you of registration opportunities for webinar’s two and three scheduled for November 2 and November 9 respectively.

If you encounter difficulty in accessing the registration link, please work with your local / agency IT to see if local /agency firewall settings / pop-up blockers / security settings are preventing you from accessing NIC’s webinar URL ( and/or the webinar registration link.

Who Do I Contact for More Information?

Content Contact
Maureen Buell, Correctional Program Specialist, National Institute of Corrections

Webinar Technical Contact
Leslie LeMaster, Correctional Program Specialist, National Institute of Corrections

How Do I Participate Effectively In a WebEx Event Center Webinar? How Do I Get Ready?
For the best experience in your next NIC WebEx Event Center webinar, you’ll need a hands-free telephone, headset or earbuds, and an internet-enabled computer. For optimum learning, be in a quiet place, free from distractions/interruptions, sight-and-sound separated from others, where you can concentrate on what is happening during the webinar. A separate office space with a door to close is an ideal setting. Connect to the webinar audio bridge via a hands-free telephone, using earbuds/headset connected to your phone/cell phone, so your hands are free to interact with your keyboard.

While tablets and smartphones are also compatible with WebEx Event Center, several of the features are limited, and most devices require that the Cisco WebEx app is installed. Regardless of which device you plan to use, test its compatibility here. This is a quick test, and we strongly encourage you to do this before the webinar. If your browser does not pass the test, contact WebEx Technical Support at 1-877-669-1782 and tell them you will be attending an NIC webinar on NIC’s WebEx site at . They can help you troubleshoot connectivity issues.

NIC strongly recommends consulting with your agency/local IT , as you may encounter pop-up blocking and/or firewall issues that block the NIC WebEx webinar URL.

Click for further information on NIC’s live webinars, including the answers to many frequently asked questions such as “What is the cost of the webinar?” (Free!), “How do I obtain training credit from your agency?”, “Will the webinar be recorded?” (YES!!), “How do I get my computer system ready to access the webinar?” and much more!

Why Human Trafficking Has Increased during COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted nearly everyone on the planet. It consumes our national news cycle and has changed our daily lives around the world. COVID-19 has resulted in massive lockdowns around the world and caused a global recession that has not been seen since World War II.

According to World Bank forecasts, the global economy will contract by 5.2% this year. Massive shutdowns and extremely restrictive coronavirus responses has caused people in different parts of the world to lose their incomes and homes. As a result, people in various countries are unable to work and put food on the table, leading to deep poverty.

An Inability to Work Increases Vulnerability to Human Trafficking

This inability to work is a problem for several reasons. One reason is that poverty, a lack of social or economic opportunities, and limited labor protections are the primary root causes that make people more vulnerable to human trafficking. In the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, experts hoped that increased border restrictions and massive lockdowns would decrease human trafficking, but these control strategies are likely to exacerbate instances of human trafficking.

A second reason is that the coronavirus pandemic disrupted victim assistance programs. These programs are offered by non-government organizations that provide anti-trafficking responses, such as victim rescue missions, in-person counseling, and legal assistance services.

In addition, COVID-19 caused human trafficking networks to go further underground with their illicit activities using technology. For example, hotels and red-light districts around the world closed during the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in human traffickers exploiting sex trafficking victims through the dark web and other Internet-based methods. There has also been an increase in online child sexual exploitations and increased rates of child labor and child marriage.

Law Enforcement Agencies Experiencing Problems in Investigating Human Trafficking Cases

At the same time, international law enforcement capabilities have been limited or exhausted during the pandemic, which created delays or reductions in the investigations of human trafficking cases. The pandemic is also responsible for disruptions in the criminal court system, so current cases that are being prosecuted have been put on hold.

COVID-19 Pandemic Has Made Detecting Victims More Difficult

According to the United Nations, the coronavirus pandemic has made it more difficult to identify human trafficking victims, which is challenging enough during normal times. For instance, victims are at a substantial risk of being exposed to the coronavirus and have less access to healthcare to support their recovery.

In some countries, the pandemic has forced children into the streets to search for food and income. As a result, those children are at a higher risk of becoming a victim of human trafficking.

Florida Anti-Trafficking Organization Reports that Sex Trafficking Demand Has Escalated During the Pandemic

In the United States, organizations that support human trafficking victims in Tampa, Florida, says that sex trafficking demand has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. The Polaris Project is an organization that combats human trafficking and operates the National Human Trafficking Hotline, which offers a variety of services to victims. According to the Polaris Project, the number of nationwide cases handled by the Trafficking Hotline increased by more than 40% in the month following the shelter-in-place orders compared to the prior month.

First Responders Have an Important Role in Identifying Human Trafficking Victims

First responders continue to have an important role in identifying potential victims of human trafficking. Juveniles traveling with adults who are not their parents, individuals that appear coached on what to say or have their passport held by someone else, and people who act timid and have bruises in various stages of healing are all indicators that someone is a possible victim human trafficking. Hospital workers also have an important role in identifying human trafficking victims.

Human trafficking victims are typically afraid to speak out about their situation, so it is important for first responders to speak with potential victims about any danger in a safe location, away from the people who accompany them. When first responders are alert to the signs and behavior of human trafficking, even more victims can be rescued during this pandemic.

Neighbors, teachers, and first responders can report suspicious activity that may be related to human trafficking to federal law enforcement at 1-866-347-2423. First responders can learn more about their role in combating human trafficking by reviewing the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign.

By Dr. Jarrod Sadulski | In Public Safety

About the Author: Dr. Jarrod Sadulski is an associate professor at American Military University and has over two decades in the field of homeland security. He has engaged in speaking engagements in the United States, Central America, and Europe on the topics of human trafficking, narcotics trafficking, police responses to domestic terrorism, and various topics in policing. Most recently, he presented at the 2019 International Human Trafficking Conference. His expertise includes infrastructure security, maritime security, homeland security contraband interdiction, and intelligence gathering.

Former Mississippi County Sheriff Passes

​Former Mississippi County Sheriff Larry Eugene Turley, 76, died Sept. 27, 2020, at Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Born Aug. 21, 1944, in Sikeston, Missouri, son of the late Louis E. “Blue” and Vida Mae Payne Turley, he graduated from Anniston High School in 1962. He worked at the East Prairie Eagle and moved to Elkart, Indiana. He worked for many years at Potlach in Sikeston. He later moved to Mulkeytown, Illinois, where he farmed and had a hog operation.

He returned to Missouri and graduated from the Missouri Law Enforcement Academy in 1978. He was a deputy sheriff under the former Sheriff Norris Grissom. He was elected sheriff of Mississippi County in 1992 and held the position until his retirement in 2004.

He received many awards during his tenure as sheriff, including one on Aug. 1, 1997, as national recognition from the federal government for his efforts in the war on drugs. The investigation resulted in arrests nationwide. The award was presented by the West Central Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force as a Meritorious Achievement Award for exemplary service in the successful investigation and prosecuting of Operation SPEED BUMP.

He was a member of Miner Baptist Church.

Pallbearers were current and former members of law enforcement: Mississippi County Sheriff Britton Ferrell, Honorable Judge Rob Barker; former reserve officer Rodney Clayton; former Sheriff Branden Caid; Trooper Lonnie Lejeune; and Trooper Dewey Heppe.  

Honorary pallbearers were current and former members of law enforcement: Retired Captain Mary Anne Clayton, Trooper Brenda Cone, Deputy Roy Moore, Deputy David Watkins, Deputy Mike Borders, Officer Wesley McDermott, Nicole Sinks, David McDermott, Don Chance, Debi Oliver, Officer Brenda Bickford, former reserve officers Charles Tinsley and Kevin Miller, Craig Karnes and retired SEMO Drug Task Force Director Kevin Glaser.

Online condolences may be shared at