Building Articulation While The Camera Rolls

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

When it comes to body cams and dash cams, don’t rely on the video alone to tell your side of the story. Your verbal narration as the action unfolds can be a critical component of what the device records, advises Dep. Chief William Mazur of the Atlantic City (NJ) PD.

Mazur is an instructor with the Force Science course on Body Cameras & Other Recordings in Law Enforcement. He spoke with Force Science News recently after a presentation to the class at the Force Science Research & Training Center in Chicago.

Where it’s practical to do so, supplying a running commentary on your perceptions and actions while the camera is on can help maximize the benefit of that equipment during the contact, Mazur explains.

“This can be especially important in search-and-seizure and use-of-force situations,” he says. “By narrating what you’re experiencing and what’s motivating your actions, you can provide a strong foundation for reasonable suspicion and probable cause.

“Officers usually articulate this information after the incident, when they’re writing their report. But if you articulate critical details as you go along–what you’re seeing and feeling, what you’re thinking–and then back it up with your report, the case becomes more of a slam dunk.”


Typically, officers may build their PC silently, mentally noting that “something’s wrong here” from such things as the distinctive smell of burnt marijuana on a vehicle stop, evasive or inconsistent answers during a field interview, pre-attack cues in a confrontation with a hostile subject, resistive tension in a potentially combative arrestee, and so on. Mazur suggests stating aloud (and thus contemporaneously recording) the important indicators you’re aware of; “articulating your mindset,” he terms it, so your actions are better understood.

His department has been advocating this in training for about 18 months, he says. Most officers who were skeptical in the beginning have become enthusiastic converts.

“It takes practice to retrain your brain to automatically and comfortably narrate,” Mazur says. And it’s important to stay flexible. “There may be times when you don’t want a subject to hear what you’re thinking or seeing. Then you may be able to go to your patrol car or step out of earshot to record what’s in your mind.

“You don’t have to speak long paragraphs or use perfect grammar. Just a few words–even one word (‘Gun!’)–can be helpful.

“Sometimes the camera doesn’t capture everything, and the voice articulation may cover what’s missing in the video. On the other hand, there may be gaps, distortions, or confused chronology in an officer’s memory after a highly stressful incident and contemporaneous narration may straighten out those lapses.”


As a part of training, his department will be hosting frequent updates and interactive debriefs from local prosecutors on case law and other legal developments so that officers thoroughly understand on a practical level the elements to emphasize in recorded articulation for proper policing. “This is especially effective for officers when they can pose hypothetical questions and scenarios and get prosecutors’ guidance,” Mazur says.

“The narration concept is in its early stages, but it will continue to grow,” he believes. “It creates a mind-set picture for people who are judging an officers’ actions, and in most cases it will show that officers are doing things right.”


Mazur touched on another body cam development from Atlantic City during his class presentation. Late last year, a middle-aged male complained that he had been assaulted by ACPD officers during an arrest, alleging that one officer banged his head several times against a vehicle.

Body camera footage reviewed during investigations by the department’s IA unit and the county prosecutors Official Corruption Unit “showed that was not even remotely like what actually happened,” Mazur says. “In fact, the suspect had threatened one of the officers and had directed racial slurs at him.”

Consequently, the complainant has been charged and indicted for marking false reports to law enforcement officers, an offense that carries a possible penalty of 18 months’ incarceration upon conviction. Trial is pending at this writing.

Mazur says: “This is clear evidence that when you conduct yourself appropriately and you have a body-worn camera, you can have an independent, impartial, and objective witness to support your account of the circumstances.”

Dep. Chief Mazur can be contacted at: WMazur@acpolice.org.

Leave a Reply


  • Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Effective date: January 06, 2019

Force Science Institute, Ltd. (“us”, “we”, or “our”) operates the https://www.forcescience.org/ website (hereinafter referred to as the “Service”).

This page informs you of our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of personal data when you use our Service and the choices you have associated with that data. Our Privacy Policy for Force Science Institute, Ltd. is based on the Privacy Policy Template from Privacy Policies.

We use your data to provide and improve the Service. By using the Service, you agree to the collection and use of information in accordance with this policy. Unless otherwise defined in this Privacy Policy, the terms used in this Privacy Policy have the same meanings as in our Terms and Conditions, accessible from https://www.forcescience.org/

Information Collection And Use

We collect several different types of information for various purposes to provide and improve our Service to you.

Types of Data Collected

Personal Data

While using our Service, we may ask you to provide us with certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you (“Personal Data”). Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to:

  • Email address
  • First name and last name
  • Phone number
  • Address, State, Province, ZIP/Postal code, City
  • Cookies and Usage Data

Usage Data

We may also collect information on how the Service is accessed and used (“Usage Data”). This Usage Data may include information such as your computer’s Internet Protocol address (e.g. IP address), browser type, browser version, the pages of our Service that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

Tracking & Cookies Data

We use cookies and similar tracking technologies to track the activity on our Service and hold certain information.

Cookies are files with small amount of data which may include an anonymous unique identifier. Cookies are sent to your browser from a website and stored on your device. Tracking technologies also used are beacons, tags, and scripts to collect and track information and to improve and analyze our Service.

You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, if you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our Service. You can learn more how to manage cookies in the Browser Cookies Guide.

Examples of Cookies we use:

  • Session Cookies. We use Session Cookies to operate our Service.
  • Preference Cookies. We use Preference Cookies to remember your preferences and various settings.
  • Security Cookies. We use Security Cookies for security purposes.

Use of Data

Force Science Institute, Ltd. uses the collected data for various purposes:

  • To provide and maintain the Service
  • To notify you about changes to our Service
  • To allow you to participate in interactive features of our Service when you choose to do so
  • To provide customer care and support
  • To provide analysis or valuable information so that we can improve the Service
  • To monitor the usage of the Service
  • To detect, prevent and address technical issues

Transfer Of Data

Your information, including Personal Data, may be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from your jurisdiction.

If you are located outside United States and choose to provide information to us, please note that we transfer the data, including Personal Data, to United States and process it there.

Your consent to this Privacy Policy followed by your submission of such information represents your agreement to that transfer.

Force Science Institute, Ltd. will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and no transfer of your Personal Data will take place to an organization or a country unless there are adequate controls in place including the security of your data and other personal information.

Disclosure Of Data

Legal Requirements

Force Science Institute, Ltd. may disclose your Personal Data in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to:

  • To comply with a legal obligation
  • To protect and defend the rights or property of Force Science Institute, Ltd.
  • To prevent or investigate possible wrongdoing in connection with the Service
  • To protect the personal safety of users of the Service or the public
  • To protect against legal liability

Security Of Data

The security of your data is important to us, but remember that no method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage is 100% secure. While we strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect your Personal Data, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

Service Providers

We may employ third party companies and individuals to facilitate our Service (“Service Providers”), to provide the Service on our behalf, to perform Service-related services or to assist us in analyzing how our Service is used.

These third parties have access to your Personal Data only to perform these tasks on our behalf and are obligated not to disclose or use it for any other purpose.


We may use third-party Service Providers to monitor and analyze the use of our Service.

  • Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Google uses the data collected to track and monitor the use of our Service. This data is shared with other Google services. Google may use the collected data to contextualize and personalize the ads of its own advertising network.You can opt-out of having made your activity on the Service available to Google Analytics by installing the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. The add-on prevents the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js, analytics.js, and dc.js) from sharing information with Google Analytics about visits activity.For more information on the privacy practices of Google, please visit the Google Privacy & Terms web page: https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en

Links To Other Sites

Our Service may contain links to other sites that are not operated by us. If you click on a third party link, you will be directed to that third party’s site. We strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of every site you visit.

We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third party sites or services.

Children’s Privacy

Our Service does not address anyone under the age of 18 (“Children”).

We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 18. If you are a parent or guardian and you are aware that your Children has provided us with Personal Data, please contact us. If we become aware that we have collected Personal Data from children without verification of parental consent, we take steps to remove that information from our servers.

Changes To This Privacy Policy

We may update our Privacy Policy from time to time. We will notify you of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page.

We will let you know via email and/or a prominent notice on our Service, prior to the change becoming effective and update the “effective date” at the top of this Privacy Policy.

You are advised to review this Privacy Policy periodically for any changes. Changes to this Privacy Policy are effective when they are posted on this page.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, please contact us:

  • By email: support@forcescience.org
  • By visiting this page on our website: https://www.forcescience.org/contact
  • By phone number: 866-683-1944
  • By mail: Force Science Institute, Ltd.