1. Purpose.

(a) To establish procedures for the acceptable use of the images, information, and tools within the face recognition system.304

2. Background.

(a) Face recognition refers to an automated process of matching face images utilizing algorithms and biometric scanning technologies.305

(b) This face recognition system was established [date] in conjunction with [other agency partners, if applicable]. The system helps identify possible criminal suspects or unidentified victims.306

(c) Personnel from the following agencies can request face recognition searches:

(i) [List; date of last update to list]

3. Scope.

(a) This policy applies to all law enforcement personnel who are granted direct access to the face recognition system as well as personnel who are permitted to request face recognition searches. Any outside agency, or personnel from an outside agency, requesting face recognition assistance with an investigation must adhere to this policy.307

4. Database and Data Limitations.

(a) The face recognition system runs searches against a database of mug shots that is updated twice per year to eliminate profiles of individuals who were not charged, had charges against them dropped, or who were found not guilty. Profiles of individuals whose records have been expunged are also removed immediately upon expungement.308

(b) No other databases, such as driver’s licenses photo databases, are linked to or accessible via the face recognition system.309

(c) Probe photos are the images of unknown suspects or victims that are submitted for comparison against the mug shot database. Probe photos are not enrolled into the face recognition database.

(i) Unsolved Photo File. A probe photo of an unknown suspect may be added to an unidentified photo file if there is probable cause to believe that suspect has committed a felony. Photos in this file are searched against new mug shot enrollments and future face recognition probe photos in an attempt to identify the photo suspect. Once the individual has been identified, the image shall be removed from the file.310

(d) There is no interface of the face recognition system to any form of video surveillance, including surveillance cameras, drone footage, and body worn cameras.311 The system will not be configured to conduct real-time or near-real-time face recognition analysis on live video.

(e) Potential matches returned by the face recognition system are to be considered investigative leads only, and cannot be used as the sole basis for an arrest.

Acceptable Uses of Face Recognition.

1. Field Identification (mobile searches). Face recognition may be used on a mobile device as an identification tool by an officer in the field in one of three instances:

(a) When an individual consents to have his or her photograph taken for the purpose of identification.

(i) If consent is withdrawn, use of face recognition is not authorized and its use must stop immediately.312

(b) When the officer reasonably believes an individual is concealing his or her true identity and has reasonable suspicion the individual has committed a crime other than concealing his or her identity.

(i) An officer must first attempt to ascertain the individual’s identity by means other than face recognition, such as requesting identification.

(c) When an individual is unable to provide reliable identification due to physical incapacitation or defect, mental incapacitation or defect, or death, and immediate identification is needed to assist the officer in performance of his or her lawful duties.313

Field photographs shall be taken and stored or deleted in accordance with the relevant department policies and procedures.

2. Investigative Searches. Face recognition may be used as an investigative tool to identify suspects caught on camera committing a felony. Investigative searches may be conducted in one of two instances:

(a) When an officer has reasonable suspicion that the suspect to be searched has committed a felony.

(b) When the suspect to be searched is believed to be a victim of a crime.

Investigative searches shall only be conducted by trained Face Examiners. Face Examiner refers to an individual who has received advanced training in the face recognition system and its features. Examiners have at least a working knowledge of the limitations of face recognition and the ability to use image editing software. They are qualified to assess image quality and appropriateness for face recognition searches and to perform one-to-many and one-to-one face image comparisons.

Examiners determine if images are suitable for face recognition searches, and may enhance images for the purpose of conducting a face recognition search. Though enhancements to the probe image are permissible, the examiner shall not base any conclusions on a comparison between an enhanced image and a potential candidate image. All human comparison shall take place between the original unknown image and the potential candidate image.

Examiners shall submit the conclusions of their analyses for peer review for investigative leads resulting from one-to-many searches and both peer review and administrative review for one-to-one comparisons. Examiners shall return a maximum of two images to the requesting officer or agency to be used as investigative leads only.314

3. Arrest. Face recognition may be used upon the arrest of an individual to identify that individual and/or determine whether he or she has previously been arrested and charged with a crime. Since the probe photo is also a mug shot, it may be enrolled in the face recognition database, but must be removed if the individual is never charged or convicted, or if the record is expunged.

Face Recognition Privacy Protections and Oversight.

1. Constitutional Guarantees.

(a) Face recognition is uniquely powerful investigative and identification tool. Law enforcement officers shall not employ this technology to conduct dragnet screening of individuals, nor shall they use it to facilitate mass surveillance of places, groups or activities unless doing so furthers an official law enforcement activity and is conducted in accordance with this policy.

(i) For example, it would not be appropriate for officers to use face recognition technology to conduct surveillance of persons or groups based solely on their religious, political or other constitutionally protected activities,315 or their race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

(b) Face recognition must be used in accordance with all federal and state laws, and all departmental policies, including those addressing improper racial profiling.316

2. Training.

(a) All personnel who are authorized to run a field identification (mobile) search or request an investigative search shall be trained in the following areas prior to utilizing face recognition:

(i) The proper and lawful use of face images for face recognition purposes;

(ii) How to take high quality face images in the field for most accurate results;

(iii) The appropriate use and sharing of information obtained from a face recognition search;

(iv) The deletion of a field identification probe image used for comparison.

(b) Personnel who have not received this training shall not utilize face recognition or request an investigative search.317

3. Audits and Penalties for Misuse.

(a) All face recognition use and search requests are subject to audit. In the event of an audit, the user will be required to provide appropriate justification for the use or request of a face recognition search.

Appropriate justification shall include a situation description and purpose for the search, including a detailed account of circumstances amounting to reasonable suspicion, and a case/complaint number and file class/crime type, if available. For searches conducted on behalf of another individual, the name and rank/job title of other individual requesting the search shall also be included.318

(b) Penalties for misuse that may be imposed include, but are not limited to, termination of a user’s access to the face recognition system or the termination of agency-wide access to the system.319

4. Approvals and Transparency.

This policy shall be reviewed annually by [City Council or other body primarily comprised of elected officials]. The policy, and any updates to it, shall be made publicly available.320

  • 304. Based on: Michigan State Police, Statewide Network of Agency Photos (SNAP) Acceptable Use Policy, Document p. 011436.
  • 305. Based on: SANDAG, ARJIS Acceptable Use Policy for Facial Recognition (Feb. 13, 2015), Document p. 008448.
  • 306. Based on: Honolulu Police Department, Policy: Facial Recognition Program (Sept. 14, 2015), Document p. 014704.
  • 307. Based on: Seattle Police Manual, Booking Photo Comparison Software (Feb. 19, 2014), Document p. 009907.
  • 308. Based on: Michigan State Police, Interview with Peter Langenfeld, Program Manager, Digital Analysis and Identification Section (May 25, 2016) (describing the practice of MSP to remove individuals not charged or found not guilty from the face recognition system in accordance with MCL § 28.243. Notes on file with authors).
  • 309. Based on: SANDAG, ARJIS Acceptable Use Policy for Facial Recognition (Feb. 13, 2015), Document p. 008450.
  • 310. Based on: Pennsylvania JNET, JNET Facial Recognition User Guide (Dec. 4, 2014), Document p. 010907.
  • 311. Based on: SANDAG, ARJIS Acceptable Use Policy for Facial Recognition (Feb. 13, 2015), Document p. 008450.
  • 312. Based on: Albuquerque Police Department, Procedural Orders: Facial Recognition Technology, Document pp. 009202–009203.
  • 313. Based on: Michigan State Police, Statewide Network of Agency Photos (SNAP) Acceptable Use Policy, Document p. 011438.
  • 314. This section describing the role of Facial Examiners is based on: Michigan State Police, Best Practice Guidelines for Facial Recognition and Facial Comparison (Feb. 2, 2014), Document pp. 011323–011331.
  • 315. Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, OHLEG Rules and Regulations, 1.11: Facial Recognition (July 1, 2016), Document p. 009218.
  • 316. Based on: Albuquerque Police Department, Procedural Orders: Facial Recognition Technology, Document p. 009203.
  • 317. Based on: San Diego Police Department Procedure (June 19, 2015), Document p. 013761.
  • 318. Based on: Michigan State Police, Statewide Network of Agency Photos (SNAP) Acceptable Use Policy, Document p. 011439.
  • 319. Based on: Michigan State Police, Statewide Network of Agency Photos (SNAP) Acceptable Use Policy, Document p. 011439.
  • 320. Based on: SANDAG, ARJIS Acceptable Use Policy for Facial Recognition (Feb. 13, 2015), Document p. 008453.