Body-Worn Camera Laws Database

2/28/2018

Body-Worn Camera Overview

Body-worn cameras are recording devices police officers wear as part of their uniforms to document what they see as they perform their duties. Body cameras continue to be a significant focus for state law makers as they consider and enact legislation to address police-community relations. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have created laws for body cameras.

Written Body-Worn Camera Policies

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia require written policies in order for law enforcement to use or receive funding for body-worn cameras. Legislation sets statutory minimum standards for policies, requires state entities to write or coordinate the development of policies and charges individual departments with creating their own policies. Maryland’s law, for example, requires the Police Training Commission to develop and publish a body-worn camera policy that addresses when recording is mandatory, when it is prohibited, how to handle access for review, retention standards for recordings and consequences for officers who violate the policy or alter recordings. Texas’ law requires individual departments to have policies that include a data retention period of at least 90 days, procedures for officer access to recordings and reporting requirements for documenting equipment malfunction. The law also prohibits any policy from requiring that officers film their entire shift. South Carolina requires departments to submit their policies to the Law Enforcement Training Council for approval. Utah’s law requires agencies using body cameras to mandate in their policies that officers wear them while executing search warrants.

Body-Worn Camera Data and Eavesdropping Laws

Wiretapping or eavesdropping laws prohibit the surreptitious recording of interactions between people. Seven statesCalifornia, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Oregon - have made exceptions to their eavesdropping laws for police officers wearing body cameras while in the performance of their duties. Oregon’s law provides additional guidance for their eavesdropping exception, stating it does not apply if the officer fails to announce the conversation is being recorded and had an opportunity to do so without jeopardizing their safety or impairing a criminal investigation. If the officer violates this provision, the body camera data is inadmissible as evidence.

Body-Worn Camera Data and Open Record Laws

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legislated how body-worn camera data is addressed under open record laws. In statute, states specify procedures for the public to request footage and which footage is and is not to be released to the public. The goal of these provisions is to be transparent in law enforcement without unnecessarily infringing on privacy.

Laws in Connecticut, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas treat body camera recordings as public records, but provide standards and many caveats for when police may withhold, redact or obscure certain videos. Connecticut, for example, excludes specific incidents from its open records laws including footage containing: communication between police officers and undercover officers or informants, any medical or psychological treatment and victims of domestic or sexual abuse, homicide, suicide or accidental death. Oklahoma’s law allows footage containing the death of a person, or violence against a person, to be redacted unless the harm was caused by law enforcement. Texas’ law provides that only body camera footage that is used, or could be used, as evidence in a criminal proceeding is subject to the state’s open record law and specifically prohibits the release of any footage taken in a private place, or that contains behavior that didn’t result in an arrest and would only be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine. In addition, North Dakota makes any recording made in a private place by a police officer’s or firefighter’s body camera exempt from the state’s open records law.

Laws in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Oregon and South Carolina exclude body-worn camera footage from open record requests, but provide several exceptions that enable access to videos by specific persons or for specific situations. Georgia’s law, for example, grants video access to specific people, including those who believe the video would be relevant to a pending criminal case or civil action. Florida’s law has exceptions that enable video to be released to a person who is the subject of the recording, to prove that a person resided in a certain dwelling or pursuant to court order. For court orders, the judicial official can consider several factors including, whether disclosure is necessary to advance a compelling interest, if the information is being requested to address a legal issue, if the information would reveal highly sensitive or personal information and its impact on the fair, impartial, and orderly administration of justice. Oregon’s law enables video to be released if it serves the public interest. South Carolina’s law enables law enforcement and the attorney general to release video at their discretion. In addition, certain persons are entitled to receive videos, including the subject of the recording, a criminal defendant or civil litigant and to a person whose property has been damaged.

State laws also address how much video data a requester may access, and what standards they must meet to access the data. For example, Nevada’s law requires that video be requested on a per incident basis, and enables law enforcement to only provide the information at the location the video is being stored if it contains confidential information that cannot otherwise be redacted.  Oregon’s law requires a requester to identify the approximate date and time of the incident and allows law enforcement to only release footage reasonably tailored to the public interest. Their law also requires all persons’ faces within the recording be rendered unidentifiable. Texas addresses how to respond to requests for large amounts of data. Their law defines a “voluminous public information request” as a request for recordings that includes more than five separate incidents, more than five separate requests from the same person in a 24-hour period, or a request that totals more than five hours of footage. Under the law, these requests are answered adequately if they are responded to within 20 business days.

The District of Columbia’s body camera law requires the Mayor to establish rules that set standards for public access to recordings and to establish procedures for auditing the program, and tracking the cost for open record requests.

Texas law enables the attorney general to charge a fee of requesters to cover the cost of reviewing and making the recording. The fee can be waived if law enforcement determines it serves the public interest.

Body-Worn Camera Funding

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have legislated funding opportunities for state and local police departments to purchase body camera equipment, hire new support staff and operate or purchase data systems.

California (for a pilot program) and Nevada (for full department implementation) appropriated funds to their state highway patrols to implement body camera programs. California also authorized the Board of State and Community Corrections to provide grants to local law enforcement agencies for initiatives that strengthen community-police relations, including any one-time body camera program costs.

North Carolina and Texas created matching grant programs to support law enforcement agencies in the development of their body camera programs. In North Carolina, the fund will be administered by the Governor's Crime Commission and agencies must provide $2 for every $1 of grant funds received. In Texas, the office of the governor is required to administer the grant program, which will require a match of 25 percent of grant funds by participating police departments.

Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, and Massachusetts also created grant programs to aid local police departments with the purchase and operation of body-worn cameras. Massachusetts implemented a competitive grant program for municipalities to develop pilot programs. The secretary of public safety and security shall distribute grants on a competitive basis, reviewing applicants’ plans for camera use, privacy protections, video retention and access, and program evaluation. Connecticut’s law created separate grants-in aid for state police (totaling $2 million) and local police departments (totaling $13 million,) for the purchase of body-worn camera equipment and digital data storage.

South Carolina’s law creates a body-worn cameras fund, administered by the public safety coordinating council, to assist police with the costs of buying, operating and maintaining all necessary equipment. In South Carolina the law requires all departments in the state to implement a body-worn camera program, but not until they receive full state funding.

The District of Columbia’s new law created the Metropolitan Police Department Body-Worn Camera Fund for the purpose of procuring a vendor to redact body-worn camera footage. According to the Act’s fiscal statement, the cost of supporting video redaction efforts is estimated to be $10,266,424 over the next four fiscal years.

Requirements to Wear Body Cameras

Five states have enacted laws that require at least some officers to use body-worn cameras. South Carolina’s law requires, contingent on state funding, that every police department implement a body camera program. Nevada requires that uniformed peace officers who work for law enforcement agencies that routinely interact with the public must wear body cameras. In California certain members of their state highway patrol a required to wear body cameras. Connecticut’s law requires their division of state police and special police forces, as well as, municipal police officers receiving grant funds to wear body cameras while interacting with the public.

Body-Worn Camera Studies

Ten states and the District of Columbia have authorized pilot programs or charged work groups or agencies with studying body-worn cameras.

California’s law, for example, requires the state highway patrol to implement a body-worn camera pilot program. The program must use practical experience to inform best practices, including evaluating whether officers should be allowed to use privately owned cameras and determining how data should be shared internally. Massachusetts is utilizing a state grant program to fund pilot programs for local law enforcement agencies around the state.

Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland and South Carolina created work groups or assigned agencies to make recommendations for body-worn camera programs. Louisiana, for example, created the Law Enforcement Body camera Implementation Task Force to evaluate proper training requirements for police officers using cameras, situations when body-worn cameras should be turned on and off and how video and audio data should be stored, retained and released. Similarly, Connecticut’s law requires their Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection and the Police Officer Standards and Training Council to evaluate and approve the minimal technical specifications of body-worn recording equipment. South Carolina’s law requires the Law Enforcement Training Council to study jurisdictions in their state already using body cameras in order to develop statewide guidelines that will inform individual department policy.

Click the specific state to populate its state laws.

Arizona (SB 1300) (2015) created a Law Enforcement Officer Body camera Study Committee to recommend new policies and legislation for their use and operation. The study committee’s final report is due by Dec. 31, 2015.

Arkansas (HB 1236) (2017) provides that a record that depicts the death of a law enforcement officer is confidential and exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Provides an exception that a family member of the deceased law enforcement officer may access a record. The record custodian shall not permit a person not authorized to copy, disseminate, reproduce, transmit, or access a record. A person or persons designated as the custodian of a record who knowingly violates this section upon conviction is guilty of a Class D felony. The law provides for access to these records by petitioning a circuit court in the county where a record is physically located. At a hearing held on these petitions, any review of a record shall be conducted in private. Upon a showing of good cause, a circuit court may issue an order authorizing a person or entity access to a record and may prescribe restrictions or stipulations pertaining to the access of the record that the court deems appropriate, including whether to allow for the copying or public disclosure of a record. In determining good cause, the circuit court shall consider the following factors, along with other factors that the court may deem relevant: (A) Whether access to the record is necessary for the public evaluation of a law enforcement officer's conduct during the performance of his or her official duties. (B) Whether there is a compelling public interest in the disclosure of the record. (C) The seriousness of the intrusion into the privacy of the deceased law enforcement officer's family members. (D) The availability of similar information in other forms.

The law requires a custodian of a record be given notice of a petition filed with a circuit court to access a record, be given the opportunity to be present and heard at any hearing on the matter. In addition to custodian, the following people shall be provided notice: (A) The surviving spouse of the deceased law enforcement officer, if any; (B) If the deceased law enforcement officer has no surviving spouse, the parents of the deceased law enforcement officer, if any; or (C) If the deceased law enforcement officer has no surviving parents and no surviving spouse, the adult children of the deceased officer law enforcement officer. This law specifically does not: (A) Prohibit a judge, jury, attorney, court personnel, or other persons necessary to a criminal, civil, or administrative proceeding involving the death of a law enforcement officer from viewing a record. (B) Overturn, abrogate, or alter a court order that exists on the effective date of this act that restricts, limits, or grants access to a record. (C) Prohibit a law enforcement agency involved in an official investigation of a death of a law enforcement officer, including without limitation, the law enforcement agency by whom the deceased law enforcement officer was employed at the time of his or her death, the Department of Arkansas State Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, from obtaining a record for the purpose of conducting an official investigation pertaining to the death of a law enforcement officer.

It also does not prohibit the use of a record for law enforcement officer training conducted by an entity authorized to conduct law enforcement training, including without limitation: (A) The Law Enforcement Training Academy; (B) The Criminal Justice Institute; (C) The Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy; or (D) Other law enforcement officer training programs. It also does not prohibit a prosecuting attorney, deputy prosecuting attorney, defense counsel pursuant to a motion of discovery, their staff, or attorneys involved in civil litigation involving the death of a law enforcement officer from accessing or copying a record.

California (AB 69) (2015) requires police departments to consider certain best practices when developing rules for downloading and storing body-worn camera data. Practices to consider include: establishing protocols and temporal standards for downloading data, developing measures to prevent misuse or tampering of the data, categorizing the nature of incidents at the time of download and stating the length of time the data must be stored. The guidelines recommend storing data from “non-evidentiary incidents” for 60 days and a minimum of two years in situations where force is used, an arrest is made, or where a complaint has been made against an officer or agency. Storage procedures should ensure evidentiary chains of custody are preserved, records of access and deletion of data are retained permanently and identify where body camera data should be stored. It also requires certain elements to be considered if third-party data storage vendors are used. In addition, the law requires police departments to retain ownership of body cameras, which shall not be accessed or released for any unauthorized purpose, and are explicitly prohibited from being uploaded onto public and social media Internet Web sites.

California (AB 93) (2015) appropriates $10 million to the Board of State and Community Corrections to administer grants that strengthen police-community relations, including grants to address any one time body-worn camera program costs.

California (SB 424) (2015) provides that provisions prohibiting eavesdropping and recording or intercepting certain communications do not prohibit officers from using or operating body-worn cameras.

California (SB 85) (2015) requires the California Highway Patrol, on or before Jan. 1, 2016, to develop a plan for implementing a body-worn camera pilot program. The pilot program shall explore: which officers should be assigned to wear a body  camera and the circumstances under which the cameras should be worn, the minimum specifications for body-worn cameras, the practicality of an officer using a privately owned body camera, the best locations on the officer's body where the camera should be worn, best practices for officers to notify members of the public that they are being recorded, who should retain body camera data and how they should do it, best practices for officer review of recorded body-worn camera data and body-worn camera data’s use for training.

California (AB 1953) (2016) requires police departments that are establishing body camera policies and procedures to consider enumerated best practices. Best practices include (1) designating a person responsible for downloading the recorded data from the body-worn camera. (If the storage system does not have automatic downloading capability, the officer's supervisor should take immediate physical custody of the camera and be responsible for downloading the data in the case of an incident involving the use of force by an officer, an officer-involved shooting, or other serious incident.) (2)  Establishing procedures for when data should be downloaded and how it should be tagged and categorized. (3) Establish specific measures to prevent data tampering, deleting, and copying, including prohibiting the unauthorized use, duplication, or distribution of body-worn camera data. (4) Specifically state the length of time that recorded data is to be stored. Non-evidentiary data should be retained for a minimum of 60 days, after which it may be erased, destroyed, or recycled. An agency may keep data for more than 60 days to have it available in case of a civilian complaint and to preserve transparency. Body camera data should be kept for two years if: it involves use of force by a peace officer or an officer-involved shooting, the recording is of an incident that leads to the detention or arrest of an individual; or the recording is relevant to a formal or informal complaint against a law enforcement officer or a law enforcement agency. If evidence that may be relevant to a criminal prosecution is obtained from a recording made by a body-worn camera under this section, the law enforcement agency should retain the recording for any time relevant to a criminal prosecution. (5) Records or logs of access and deletion of data from body-worn cameras should be retained permanently. (6) Specify where the body-worn camera data will be stored. (7) If using a third-party vendor to manage the data storage system, consider using a reputable third-party vendor. Do this by entering into contracts that govern the vendor relationship and protect the agency's data, using a system that prevents data tampering and unauthorized access and has a reliable method for automatically backing up data for storage.

Requires that all body-worn camera data be the property of a law enforcement agency. Data cannot be used for personal use and prohibits data from being uploaded onto public and social media internet websites. Sanctions must be included for violations. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to limit the public's right to access recorded data under the California Public Records Act.

California (AB 459) (2017) specifies that the California Public Records Act does not require disclosure of a video or audio recording that was created during the commission or investigation of the crime of rape, incest, sexual assault, domestic violence or child abuse that depicts the face, intimate body part, or voice of a victim of the incident depicted in the recording. The law also requires a law enforcement agency to justify withholding such a video or audio recording by demonstrating that the public interest served by not disclosing the recording clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the recording. The law authorizes a victim who is a subject of such a recording to be permitted to inspect the recording and to obtain a copy of the recording

Colorado (HB 1285) (2015) created a body-worn camera grant program, a body-worn camera fund and a body-worn camera study committee. The grant program will be administered by the Division of Criminal Justice and funded by the body-worn camera fund. The fund will be in the state treasury and financed by annual legislative appropriations, as well as, any grants and donations received. The body-worn camera study group will examine best practices and submit a written report of its recommendations to the House and Senate Judiciary committees before March, 1 2016. The legislation also appropriates $89,893 for the 2015-16 fiscal year to the department of public safety to hire one additional staff person.

Connecticut (HB 7103) (2015) requires the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection and the Police Officer Standards and Training Council to set minimum specifications for body-worn cameras. After July 1, 2016, each sworn member of the Division of State Police, certain special police forces and any municipal police department that is a recipient of a state grant is required to use body-worn cameras while interacting with the public. The law also enables all other departments to use body cameras. In addition it requires the cameras to be worn on an officer's outermost garment, positioned above the midline of such officer's torso. The law prohibits any law enforcement employee from editing, erasing, copying, sharing or otherwise altering or distributing in any manner any recording made by a body-worn camera. In addition, the law allows police to review their body camera recording to assist with preparing a police report.

If a police officer is giving a formal statement about the use of force or for a disciplinary investigation, the officer has the right to review any relevant recording in the presence of the officer's attorney or labor representative.

The law prohibits the use of body cameras for recording: communication between law enforcement agency personnel, during an encounter with an undercover officer or informant; when an officer is on break or engaged in personal business; when a person is undergoing a medical or psychological evaluation or treatment; for any person other than a suspect to a crime in a hospital, mental health or other medical facility setting. These instances are also not a public record. In addition, no data of a scene that involves a victim of domestic or sexual abuse, or a victim of homicide or suicide or a deceased victim of an accident, shall be subject to disclosure if it is an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
Under the law, if a police officer is aware that any body-worn camera is lost, damaged or malfunctioning, they must inform their supervisor. It also requires regular equipment inspection. The law requires the Office of Policy and Management to administer a grant program to provide grants-in-aid to reimburse each municipality for the costs associated with the purchase of body-worn cameras and data storage devices or services. The law also requires annual training for police officers to use body-worn cameras.

Connecticut (SB 1501) (2015) enables the Office of Policy and Management to make grants for the purchase of body-worn recording equipment and digital data storage devices. The total grants are not to exceed $15 million, provided $2 million shall be made available to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection for members of the state police and $13 million shall be made available to municipalities for local law enforcement officers.

Connecticut (SB 349) (2016) amends the state’s body camera law to prohibit the release of data, under the freedom of information act, that depicts a minor or that unreasonably invades personal privacy. Data depicting minors can be released if the minor’s parents’ consent, a police officer is subject of a misconduct investigation compelled by the minor or it is necessary for the defense of a person charged with a crime. 

Connecticut (HB 7308) (2017) establishes a task force to examine the use of body-worn recording equipment by state and municipal police. The study will address (1) whether statutes should address the use of electronic defense weapon recording equipment, (2) training associated with the use of such equipment, and (3) data storage and freedom of information issues associated with the data created by the use of such equipment. The law also specifies members of the task force.
The law also expands the state’s body camera grant program to include costs of electronic defense weapon recording equipment and first-time purchases of dashboard cameras.  It requires the commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection and the Police Officer Standards and Training Council to jointly maintain guidelines pertaining to the use of body-worn recording equipment.

Delaware (HCR 46) (2015) encourages the development and adoption of a single uniform policy regarding the implementation of body-worn cameras. The policy should address when the cameras should be used, how the date should be stored, how public access to the date should be handled, whether notices for recording should be given and penalties for violations of the body camera policy.

The District of Columbia (LB 343, LB 344) (2015) establishes that Metropolitan Police Department body-worn cameras funded by any funds made available in Fiscal Year 2016 shall not be worn until rules are approved by the Council.

The District of Columbia (LB 158, B283) (2015) establishes that the Body-Worn Camera Program in the Metropolitan Police Department in Fiscal Year 2016 shall not be implemented until there is certification by the Chief Financial Officer that the cost of public access to body-worn camera recordings is funded in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget and four-year financial plan. The law requires the mayor to establish body camera rules that set standards for public access to recordings, set retention standard for body camera recordings, procedures for auditing the program, data security and cost for FOIA requests. The mayor must establish and consult with an advisory group to provide recommendations for the proposed rules. The rules must be approved by the D.C. Council.

In addition, the law requires that every six months the mayor make information publically available detailing the hours of body camera recordings made, how many times the cameras failed and reasons or their failure, how many internal investigations were opened for failure to turn on body cameras, how many times recordings were used in internal affairs investigations, how many times videos were used to investigate claims made by an individual or group, how body cameras are distributed amongst districts, and the number of FOIA requests. The Metropolitan Police Department shall provide the Office of Police Complaints with direct access to body-worn camera recordings.

The District of Columbia (LR 483) (2015) allows public access to certain body-worn camera recordings recorded by the Metropolitan Police Department and amends the Fiscal Year 16 Budget Support Act of 15 to require the mayor to collect additional data. It also establishes the Metropolitan Police Department Body-Worn Camera Fund and to adopt regulations governing the Metropolitan Police Departments Body-Worn Camera Program.

The District of Columbia (B 351) (2015) created the Metropolitan Police Department Body-Worn Camera Fund, which will be funded by all FOIA request fees from body camera recordings, appropriations, federal grants and donations. In addition, the law gives the Metropolitan Police Department 25 days to respond to FOIA requests with footage or with notice it will take an additional 10 days.

Florida (SB 248) (2015) creates standards for law enforcement’s release of body-worn camera video under the state’s open records law. Specifically, the law generally prohibits the release of video taken in a person’s residence, in a medical facility or in an area most people would consider private. It also sets standards related to whom police must share video with, including those who are the subject of the recording. The law also gives direction to courts evaluating whether video should be released. Factors the judiciary may consider include whether the disclosure is necessary to advance a compelling interest, whether disclosure would reveal information of a highly sensitive and personal nature, whether denying its release is necessary to prevent a serious threat to the fair administration of justice, and if the recording could be redacted to protect privacy interests.

Florida (HB 93) (2016) requires law enforcement agencies that permit their officers to wear body cameras to establish policies for their proper use, maintenance and storage of their data. Agencies must also ensure their officers are trained in using their body camera equipment and store data in accordance with the state’s public records laws. The law also requires agencies to conduct a periodic review of actual agency body camera practices to ensure conformity with the agency's policies and procedures.

Florida (HB 5001) (2016) appropriated $145,413 for a body camera pilot project at Sumter Correctional Institution. Funding will provide for every correctional officer on duty supervising youthful offenders to be equipped with body cameras. An additional appropriation of $250,000 is provided for grants for county sheriff's offices to purchase body-worn cameras for deputies. The sheriff's office must make an in-kind or cash match equal to the amount of the grant. Preference for grants is given to sheriff departments in areas with denser populations.

Florida (SB 7022) (2016) alters an exemption to the disclosure requirement of a public record. The law narrows an exemption for the release a photograph, video or audio recording that depicts or records the killing of a person to the killing of a law enforcement officer who was acting in his or her official duties.

Florida (HB 305) (2017) requires individual law enforcement department body camera policies to include a provision permitting officers to review the recorded footage from the body camera, upon his or her own initiative or request, before writing a report or providing a statement regarding any event arising within the scope of his or her official duties.

Georgia (SB 94)(2015) established standards for the release of body camera data for public record requests. The law excludes body camera recordings from public records when they are taken in a place where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy and no criminal investigation is pending. The law creates exceptions for a subject of the video, a parent of a minor in the video and persons party to a criminal or civil action relevant to the video. The code also provides an exception to the states eavesdropping law, enabling law enforcement officers to make recordings as they perform their official duties.

Georgia (HB 976) (2016) requires video to be retained for 180 days generally. It must be retained for 30 months if the recording is part of a criminal investigation, shows an accident, shows detainment, depicts an arrest or use of force, or is reasonably necessary for pending litigation. Governing bodies have no duty to redact the video. Imposes an additional $10 fee for creating recordings. 

Illinois (SB 1304) (2015) requires the Board of Police Training and Standards to develop guidelines for body-worn cameras by law enforcement agencies. The written policy must include, at a minimum, that cameras be equipped with pre-event recording capacity and be able to record for at least 10 hours. It must also require cameras to be on at all times the officer is in uniform and responding to calls for service or is engaged in any law enforcement activity. The law also provides that if exigent circumstances exist that prevent the camera from being turned on, the camera must be turned on as soon as possible.

The law requires cameras be turned off when the victim of a crime requests that the camera be turned off, when a witness of a crime who wishes to report a crime requests that the camera be turned off, or if the officer is interacting with a confidential informant. However, an officer may continue to record or resume recording a victim or a witness, if exigent circumstances exist. Under these circumstances the officer must indicate on the recording the reason for continuing to record despite the request of the victim or witness.

Cameras may be turned off when the officer is engaged in community caretaking functions. Under the law, the officer must provide notice of recording to any person who has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Proof of the officer’s notice must be evident in the recording. If exigent circumstances exist which prevent the officer from providing notice, notice must be provided as soon as practicable.

The law requires that data redaction, labeling or duplication be only handled by staff designated for those tasks. The officer who recorded data and their supervisor can access and review recordings prior to completing incident reports so long as their review is documented. The law also mandates recordings be kept for 90 days without being altered. Videos will be kept for two years if they are related to an incident where a complaint has been filed, the officer fired their weapon, death or great injury occurred to any person, the incident resulted in a detention or arrest, the officer is subject to internal or criminal investigations. If related to a pending investigation, the data can be deleted after its final disposition.

The law prevents recordings from being used to discipline officers unless a formal or informal complaint of misconduct has been made; a use of force incident has occurred; or as corroboration of other evidence of misconduct.

The law requires police departments to ensure proper maintenance of body camera equipment and to note any defects. Upon becoming aware, officers must as soon as practical document and notify the appropriate supervisor of any technical difficulties, failures, or problems with the officer-worn body camera or associated equipment. Upon receiving notice, the appropriate supervisor shall make every reasonable effort to correct and repair any of the officer-worn body camera equipment.

The law also excludes body camera data from the Freedom of Information Act unless, the data is flagged due to the filing of a complaint, it shows: discharge of a firearm, use of force, arrest or detention, or a person’s death or bodily harm, or if a victim or witness gives their permission for the videos release.

Each law enforcement agency which employs the use of officer-worn body cameras must report annually a brief overview of the makeup of the agency, including the number of officers utilizing officer-worn body cameras; the number of officer-worn body cameras utilized by the law enforcement agency; any technical issues with the equipment and how those issues were remedied; a brief description of the review process used by supervisors within the law enforcement agency; for each recording used in prosecutions of conservation, criminal, or traffic offenses or municipal ordinance violations: the time, date, location, and precinct of the incident; the offense charged and the date charges were filed; and any other information relevant to the administration of the program.

The law enables body camera data to be used as evidence in any administrative, judicial, legislative, or disciplinary proceeding and excludes the data from eavesdropping laws.

The law requires each department using a body camera program to train officers who utilize the equipment.

Indiana (HB 1019) (2016) sets requirements for the public to request body camera recordings under the state’s open record laws. Requests must be in writing and must specify the date, location and approximate time of incident, and the name of at least one person, other than a law enforcement officer, who was directly involved in the law enforcement activity.

The law requires a public agency to permit certain persons, termed “requestors,” to view a recording at least twice. Requestors include anyone depicted in a recording, an owner of real property depicted in a recording, a crime victim or a person who suffers a loss due to personal injury or property damage. These individuals can be awarded attorney's fees, court costs and other reasonable expenses if they prevail in an action against a public agency to view a recording. It also requires a public agency to permit all persons to inspect and copy a recording unless the public agency can demonstrate that release of the recording would: pose a significant risk of harm to a person or the public, interfere with a person's ability to get a fair trial, will affect an ongoing investigation or will not serve the public interest. Provides that a recording that captures information relating to airport security may not be released for public inspection without the approval of the airport operator.

State agencies are also required to retain an unaltered, unobscured law enforcement recording for at least 280 days, localities are required to retain recordings for 190 days. If a “requestor” asks an agency for it to be held longer or if a formal or informal complaint is filed with the public agency regarding a law enforcement activity the public agency shall automatically retain the recording for at least two years. Recordings can be retained by police for training for any length of time, and if the recording is used in a criminal, civil, or administrative proceeding, the public agency shall retain the recording until final disposition of all appeals and order from the court. The law caps the fee for copying a law enforcement recording at $150. Specifies information that a public agency may or must obscure from a law enforcement recording before disclosing it. Exempts police recordings from the state’s prohibition against placing a camera on a person’s private property.  

Kansas (SB 22) (2016) provides that every body camera recording is a criminal investigation record and public record under the state’s open record law.  In addition to disclosure under open records, the law also allows for viewing by anyone who is the subject of a recording, or their guardian or legal representative. The law enforcement agency may charge a reasonable fee for such services.

Kentucky (HB 124) (2016) enables police departments to submit grants for body camera funding to the account of the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security. Requires any department that applies for these funds for body cameras to first implement a written policy regarding their use. 

Louisiana (HCR 180) (2015) created the Law Enforcement Body camera Implementation Task Force to study and make recommendations for the development and implementation of best practices for body cameras. The task force must submit a final report of their findings and recommendations to specified officials from all three branches of government. The recommendations must include guidelines for bodycamera use, officer training, proper data storage, and release of audio and video data to the public. The report should also address whether or not legislation is needed.

Louisiana (SB 398) (2016) prohibits the release of body-worn camera footage that is found by the data’s custodian to violate a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy. This footage can be released pursuant to a court order unless it contains footage that would violate a person’s expectation of privacy recorded while the officer is not acting in his or her professional capacity. The cost for producing such video shall be set by the court. Requests for the production of body camera footage must contain reasonable specificity as to the date, time, persons and location involved. Under the law, the custodian of the record can request production costs upfront.

Louisiana (HCR 59) (2016) re-creates the Louisiana Law Enforcement Body Camera Implementation Task Force to study and make recommendations regarding the requirements for implementation and development of procedures for the use of the body cameras and access to body camera recordings. Recommendations must include: limitations on the situations in which peace officers are permitted to wear body cameras; guidelines for the proper storage, retention, and release of audio and video data recorded by body cameras; guidelines regarding the law enforcement training relative to each law enforcement agency's policies and procedures on the use of body cameras; legislation, if necessary, to authorize the use of body cameras by peace officers.

Louisiana (SCR 31) (2017) continues the work of the Louisiana Law Enforcement Body Camera Implementation Task Force to study and make recommendations regarding the requirements for implementation and development of best procedures for the use of body cameras and policies for access to and use of body camera recordings by law enforcement agencies in this state, and to provide for a written report of its recommendations and findings not later than 60 days prior to the 2018 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature.

Massachusetts (HB 3829) (2015) appropriated $250,000 in competitive grant funds to municipalities, administered by the executive office of public safety and security, for body camera police pilot programs. The programs must aim to improve public safety, enhance community-police relations, foster better accountability for the actions of police personnel, deter inappropriate conduct by police officers and members of the public, capture digital audio-video evidence, assist with officer training and tool for officer safety and protect privacy. The secretary of public safety and security shall distribute grants on a competitive basis, reviewing applicants’ plans for camera use, privacy protections, video retention and access and program evaluation.

Maryland (HB 533, SB 482) (2015) created a “ Commission Regarding the Implementation and Use of Body cameras by Law Enforcement Officers.” It was charged with studying and making recommendations regarding best practices for body cameras. The law also requires the Maryland Police Training Commission to develop and publish an online policy for body camera use that addresses a multitude of factors, including when a recording is mandatory, when it is prohibited, how access to recordings is handled, procedures for review and retention of recordings, and consequences for violating the agency’s body-worn camera policy.

Michigan (HB 4427) (2017) defines “body-worn camera,” “evidentiary audio and video recording” and “private place.” Provides that the disclosure of any audio or video recording recorded by a body-worn camera is subject to the protections provided for crime victims in the crime victim’s rights act. Provides that generally a recording recorded by a law enforcement officer with a body-worn camera in a private place is exempt from disclosure under the freedom of information act. Provides that any of the following individuals may request a copy of an audio and video recording recorded by a law enforcement officer with a body-worn camera in a private place: (1) An individual who is the subject of the audio and video recording, (2) An individual whose property has been seized or damaged in relation to a crime to which the audio and video recording is related. (3) Or such person’s attorney or legal guardian.

Provides that an audio or video recording from a body-worn camera that is retained by a law enforcement agency in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation or an ongoing internal investigation is not a public record and is exempt from disclosure under the freedom of information act, if it would: (1) Interfere with law enforcement proceedings. (2) Deprive a person of the right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication. (3) Constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. (4) Disclose the identity of a confidential source or, if the record is compiled by a law enforcement agency in the course of a criminal investigation, disclose confidential information furnished only by a confidential source. (5) Disclose law enforcement investigative techniques or procedures. (6) Endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel, or (7) Disclose information regarding a crime victim in violation of the crime victim’s rights act.

Provides that generally, a law enforcement agency shall retain an evidentiary audio and video recording recorded by a body-worn camera for not less than 30 days from the date the recording is made. If the recordings are subject of an ongoing criminal or internal investigation, or an ongoing criminal prosecution or civil action, it must be kept until the completion of the investigation or legal proceeding. If the recording is related to a formal complaint against a law enforcement officer or agency, it must be kept at least three years. Provides that an absence of, or inability to produce, the video does not create any presumption of truth for alleged facts.

Enables law enforcement agencies to charge a fee for a copy of an audio and video recording recorded by a law enforcement officer with a body-worn camera. Requires law enforcement agencies that utilizes body-worn cameras to develop a written policy regarding their use.

Minnesota (SF 498) (2016) includes body camera data in the definition of “arrest data,” which is public if it contains footage of any citation, arrest, incarceration or deprivation of liberty. The law also adds body camera recordings to the definition of “Criminal Investigation data,” which is non-public during the course of an investigation, and also for inactive investigations where release of the data would jeopardize another ongoing investigation or would reveal the identity of a legally protected person. Images are also non-public if they are clearly offensive to common sensibilities, provided that the existence of the recordings shall be disclosed to any person requesting access to the inactive investigative file. Police can also release the data as a public benefit if they determine the access will aid the law enforcement process, promote public safety or dispel widespread rumor or unrest.

Body camera recordings are generally non-public, but are public if they show the discharge of a firearm by police or the use of force that results in serious bodily harm. Data is also public if a subject requests it be made public. If a non-police subject in the video does not consent to the video’s release, it must be redacted if practicable. Police officers who are legally protected must also be redacted. Law enforcement can make redactions that are clearly offensive to common sensibilities.

Any person can bring an action in court to have data released or prevent its disclosure. The person must give notice to the law enforcement agencies and video subjects if known. Police must give notice to the remaining subjects. In determining release of the data, the court must weigh benefits and harms and consider whether the data is offensive.

All body camera data must be retained for 90 days. Data must be retained for at least a year if it contains the discharge of a firearm by police, the use of force that results in serious bodily injury, or if a complaint has been filed against an officer related to the incident. A subject in the video may request the video be retained for an additional 180 days, and law enforcement must notify them when it is to be destroyed. An individual who is the subject of body camera data has access to the data. If a subject requests a copy of the recording, data on other individuals who do not consent to its release must be redacted from the copy. The identity and activities of an on-duty peace officer engaged in an investigation or response to an emergency, incident, or request for service may not be redacted, unless the officer's identity is subject to legal protection.

Law enforcement agencies using body camera data must maintain public records of: the total number of recording devices owned; a daily record of the total number of recording devices actually deployed and used by officers and the precincts in which they were used; policies and procedures for their use; the total amount of recorded audio and video data collected; the agency's retention schedule for the data; and the agency's procedures for destruction of the data.

Establishes standards for sharing data between police agencies. Provides police cannot use personal body camera equipment. Provides standards for data protection by body camera vendors and sets financial penalties. 

The law requires any police department wishing to use body-worn cameras to have written policies. At a minimum, the policies must include: data access standards; equipment testing procedures; policies for when notice of recording must be given; when recording is prohibited; procedures for addressing violations of the rules; and procedures for internal audits. These written policies must also be developed with an opportunity for public comment. The law also establishes civil penalties for the accidental and willful disclosure of data that should have been private. Agencies must conduct biennial audits of their data by an independent entity. The results are public and must be government by the local or relevant governing body.  The results must be sent to the Legislative Commission on Data Practices and Personal Data Privacy within 60 days of the audits completion. The legislative auditor is requested to conduct a comprehensive review of compliance with the data requirements no later than Jan. 15, 2020. Police must also notify the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension within 10 days if their devices are capable of conducting a type of surveillance in excess of audio or video recordings. 

Minnesota (HB 470) (2017) provides that body-worn camera footage recorded in the course of normal law enforcement duties shall not be excluded as evidence in any hearing or trial of a criminal offense or petty misdemeanor on the ground that a written transcript of the recording was not prepared and available at or prior to trial.

Missouri (HB 1936) (SB 765) (2016) defines “mobile video recorder” as any system or device that captures visual signals that is capable of installation in a vehicle or being worn or carried by personnel of a law enforcement agency. Adds mobile video recording data to the records of incidents that must be maintained by law enforcement. Video recorded in a non-public location is confidential, unless it is requested by a person depicted in the recording or by their close relative or representative. Any person can bring an action in a circuit court to have this video data disclosed.

In making a determination as to whether video can be disclosed, the court must consider the benefit to the person bringing the action or the public against the harm to the public, to the law enforcement agency or any of its officers, or to any person in the recording. The court also must consider whether the video contains information reasonably likely to disclose private matters in where the public has no legitimate concern or will bring shame or humiliation to a person or was taken in a place where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Any person who receives video taken in a non-public location pursuant to a court order cannot describe or display the recording without providing all non-law enforcement personnel in the video with notice. Those individuals then have 10 days to seek a court order to prevent the video from being displayed. Failure to comply with the notice requirement is punishable by a civil action. 

North Carolina (HB 97) (2015) appropriated $5 million evenly over the next two fiscal years to provide for matching grants to local and county law enforcement agencies for the purpose of purchasing, servicing and training officers in the use of body-worn cameras. These funds will be administered by the Governor's Crime Commission. The maximum grant amount can be $100,000 and agencies must provide $2 of local funds for every $1 of grant funds received. The Governor's Crime Commission is required to report on their grant making criteria and how funds were distributed. 

North Carolina (HB 972) (2016) establishes that body-camera recordings are not public or personnel records. It also sets procedures for the disclosure (viewing) and release of recordings. Requests for disclosure must be made in writing to the head of the custodial law enforcement agency and specify the date and approximate time of the activity the request refers to. Only a person whose voice or image is in the recording, or their representative, can request disclosure. The law enforcement agency must either disclose the video, or notify the person of their decision not to disclose.

Release of a video recording can only be done pursuant to a court order. The court, when considering to release a video, must evaluate many factors including whether there is a compelling public interest, whether the video would be used in a current legal proceeding, whether information in the video is highly sensitive, whether it would harm a person’s reputation or jeopardize their safety, whether confidentiality is necessary to protect an investigation, if there is good cause to release the video, and whether the release would create a serious threat to the fair, impartial, and orderly administration of justice. In any proceeding related to the release of a video, certain entities must be notified including, the custodial law enforcement agency, law enforcement personnel depicted or heard in the video and the District Attorney.

Video must also be released by police for certain law enforcement purposes, including so that a district attorney can: review potential criminal charges; comply with discovery requirements; or review potential criminal charges. Law enforcement can also disclose or release video for training purposes or to another agency for law enforcement purposes. Recordings are required to be retained pursuant to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and Records. The law requires all police agencies using body cameras or dash cameras to implement a policy regarding their use. Under the law, police can charge fees for making recordings. Agencies that use state bureau of investigation or crime lab resources to review video must allow those entities no charge access to data.

North Carolina (SB 257) (2017) clarified that grant funds from the 2015 legislation (HB 97) are not be returned to the fund from which they were originally appropriated and must continue to be used to provide matching grants to local and county law enforcement agencies to purchase and utilize body-worn cameras or dashboard video cameras. 

North Dakota (HB 1264) (2015) makes any recording made in a private place by a police or firefighters’ body camera exempt from the state’s open records law.

Nebraska (LB 1000) (2016) requires the Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice to develop model policies for the use of body-worn cameras. The model policy must govern the use of body-worn cameras by peace officers, and the retention and disposition of recordings created by the cameras. It must also include training requirements as well as a standard that data be retained for a minimum of 90 days. Recordings must be kept longer than 90 days in certain circumstances including when a court notifies the law enforcement agency that video may have evidentiary value, notice that there is a disciplinary action against law enforcement personnel, and if it is part of a criminal investigation until it has been closed.  All law enforcement agencies wishing to use body-worn cameras must adopt the model policies as minimum standards.

New Hampshire’s (§ 570-A:2) law addressed the impact of body-worn cameras on its eavesdropping law, which generally requires that both parties consent to the making of an audio or video recording. The state now has an exception to this requirement for audio and video recordings made by officers during routine stops so long as they provide notice to the person being recorded. New Hampshire also created a similar exception for recording devices used in conjunction with electronic control devices. In this circumstance, officers are required to notify the subject of the recording that the recording exists and provide them with a copy if requested.

New Hampshire (HB 1584) (2016) requires departments that equip their officers with body cameras to develop procedures for their use. Officers can only use department issued equipment, wear body cameras while in uniform, and are required to complete an agency approved training program. Police are required to activate cameras when arriving at a call for service, or are engaging in police activity. Citizens, under certain circumstances, can decline to be recorded, and the officer must notify them of that option. If the camera is not activated the officer must document the reason for doing so. The cameras shall not be used in conversations with other police personnel, with individuals acting as informants or in an undercover capacity, or during intimate searches, interviews with crime victims, while on school grounds (unless there is a threat to life), while the officer is on break, or if the camera’s electrostatic interference could impact an explosive device.

Police must notify a person they are being recorded. Officers are prohibited from tampering with body camera data, and footage can only be used for law enforcement purposes. Body camera data must be stored for longer than 30 days and shorter than 180 days. It must be kept for three years if the recording captures: deadly force; the discharge of a firearm; death or serious injury; or an encounter where a complaint has been filed with a police department or is being retained for an ongoing case or disciplinary action. Chiefs can also designate video as a training tool.  Video taken in violation of this law must be deleted and cannot be used in court. The law exempts body-worn camera recordings generally from the state’s open record law, but provides exemptions for instances where police use force, where police discharge a firearm, or where they engage in a situation that leads to a felony level arrest. It also adds a specific body camera recording exemption to the state’s all party consent eavesdropping law. 

New Jersey (SB 17) (2016) appropriates $1,000,000 for body-worn cameras to the Department of Law and Public Safety. 

Nevada (SB 111) (2015) requires Nevada highway patrol officers who interact with the public to wear body cameras. The state also requires the Nevada highway patrol to develop procedures for body camera use that addresses camera activation, privacy concerns, retention periods (not shorter than 15 days) and disciplinary actions for officers who violate the procedures. Their law also provides that public requests for video can be made on a per incident basis and are available for inspection where the video is stored if the record contains confidential information that cannot be redacted. The law also enables police to use body cameras in compliance with eavesdropping laws. In addition, the law appropriates $785,002 for fiscal year 2015-2016 and $475,104 for fiscal year 2016-2107 to the highway patrol to purchase and operate the cameras.

Nevada (AB 162) (2015) enables police departments to use body cameras. If they do they must develop procedures that address camera activation, the prohibition of recording general activity, protections for privacy and disciplinary rules for officers who violate policies. Their law also provides that public requests for video can be made on a per incident basis and are available for inspection where the video is stored if the record contains confidential information that cannot be redacted. The law also enables police to use body cameras in compliance with eavesdropping laws.

Nevada (SB 176) (2017) expands the list of law enforcement agencies whose officers must wear body cameras and requires those agencies to adopt policies and procedures. Authorizes the board of county commissioners of all counties to impose a surcharge to be used for the enhancement of the telephone system for reporting emergencies. Authorizes the surcharge to also be used for the purpose of purchasing and maintaining body cameras and dash cameras.

Oklahoma’s law (51 § 24A.8) classifies video and audio files from body-worn cameras as records under its open records law. Their law also specifies situations where video should be redacted before being released, including portions that depict: the death of a person or a dead body, nudity or the identity of people younger than 16 years old.

Oklahoma (HB 1037) (2015) expanded their laws addressing the release of body camera videos to the public. All footage is public that depicts: the use of force by police; pursuits; traffic stops; any arrest, citation or written warning; events that led to a person being arrested, cited or warned; detentions; any action by an officer that deprives a person of their liberty; actions by an officer that led to an investigation or charges being filed and any recordings in the public interest of ensuring officers are appropriately performing their duties. It enables footage to be redacted if it depicts: a person’s death, unless it was caused by police; nudity; would identify minors or undermine juvenile record confidentiality; acts of violence or bodily injury, unless they were caused by police; non-public medical information; privileged detention or transportation for mental health or drug treatment; personal information for a person not being arrested, charged or cited; the identity of an officer subject to an ongoing investigation; victims of sex crimes or domestic violence; identifies police informants and material that would undermine an ongoing investigation.

Oklahoma (HB 2232) (2017) provides that audio or video recordings from body-cameras are to be kept for a minimum of seven years. However, any recording that depicts anything other than an officer-involved shooting, use of lethal force, incidents involving medical treatment, incidents where a written application is received for the preservation of the specific event, or upon request of the district attorney may be kept for a minimum of one year, as determined by the county sheriff.

Oregon (HB 2571) (2015) requires police departments to develop procedures for body camera use and data storage. The policies must require data to be retained for at least 180 days but not longer than 30 months for data not related to a criminal investigation. It must also set requirements for activating the camera when officers suspect that a crime or violation has occurred. Furthermore, if data is stored with third parties, the guidelines must require that the data must remain the property of law enforcement. The guidelines must also include a prohibition on the use of facial recognition and other biometric technology. An agency may develop policies that provide exceptions based on exigent circumstances or privacy. The law also enables police to use body cameras in compliance with eavesdropping laws as well as sets standards for the data’s admission as evidence in court. Their law also makes video of police-public interactions public record when the recordings’ release are necessary for the public interest. Requests must specify an approximate date and time and must be edited in a manner that renders all faces in the recording unidentifiable.

Pennsylvania’s law (30 § 901, 34 § 901) allows waterway and game conservation officers to wear body cameras.

Pennsylvania (SB 560) (2017) amends the definition of “oral communication” to eliminate the expectation that communications in the presence of an identifiable law enforcement officer will be private and free from recording. Requires the Pennsylvania State Police to annually establish and publish standards in the Pennsylvania Bulletin regarding the storage of audio and video recordings made by law enforcement officers. The standards shall comply with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Justice Information Services Security Policy. This standard also applies to any private vendor to law enforcement agencies that stores data related to body cameras.

Pre-empts the Right-to-Know Law, and establishes procedures for requests for law enforcement audio recordings or video recordings from body cameras. An individual who requests a recording must do so within 60 days of the date it was made, must do so in writing to the individual who is designated as the open-records officer for the law enforcement agency. Service is effective upon receipt of the written request by the open-records officer from personal delivery or certified mail with proof of service. The request must specify the incident or event that is the subject of the audio recording or video recording, including the date, time and location of the incident or event. The request must also include a statement describing the requester's relationship to the incident. If the incident or event occurred inside a residence, the request shall identify each individual who was present unless not known and not reasonably ascertainable.

Provides that if a law enforcement agency determines that an audio recording or video recording contains potential evidence in a criminal matter, information pertaining to an investigation or a matter in which a criminal charge has been filed, confidential information or victim information and the reasonable redaction of the audio or video recording would not safeguard potential evidence, information pertaining to an investigation, confidential information or victim information, the law enforcement agency shall deny the request in writing. The written denial must state that reasonable redaction of the recording will not safeguard potential evidence, information pertaining to an investigation, confidential information or victim information. Enables a law enforcement agency to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the attorney general or the district attorney to consult on or make decisions to deny requests.

Requires a law enforcement agency that receives a request to provide the recording or identify in writing the basis for denying the request within 30 days of receiving it, unless the requester and law enforcement agency agree to a longer time period.

Provides that a law enforcement agency that has received a request for an audio recording or video recording shall preserve the unaltered recording for no less than the time periods provided in this chapter for service of and responses to written requests for the production of the audio recording or video recording and any period within which a petition for judicial review is allowable or pending.

Enables law enforcement agencies to establish reasonable fees relating to the costs incurred to disclose video recordings. Provides the fees shall be paid by the requesting party at the time of disclosure of the recording.§ 67A06. Petition for judicial review.

If a request is denied, the requester may file a petition for judicial review in the court of common pleas with jurisdiction within 30 days of the date of denial. The petitioner must pay a filing fee of $125. If the incident or event that is the subject of the request occurred inside a residence, the petitioner shall certify that notice of the petition has been served or that service was attempted on each individual who was present at the time of the audio recording or video recording and on the owner and occupant of the residence. The petitioner must serve the petition on the open records officer of the respondent within five days of the date that the petitioner files the petition with the court of common pleas.

Provides that it shall be grounds for summary dismissal of a petition if the request is untimely, the request to the law enforcement agency failed to describe with sufficient particularity the incident or event that is the subject of the audio recording or video recording, including the date, time and location of the incident or event, or the petitioner failed to comply with the requirements of this law. Provides a court of common pleas with jurisdiction may grant a petition if the court determines that the petitioner has established by a preponderance of the evidence that: (1) the denial was arbitrary and capricious, (2) the public interest in disclosure of the recording or the interest of the petitioner outweighs the interests of the commonwealth, the law enforcement agency or an individual's interest in nondisclosure.

Requires a municipal law enforcement agency or sheriff that makes body camera recordings to establish written policies, which shall be public, for the following: (1) The training of law enforcement officers. (2) The time periods when an electronic, mechanical or other device shall be in operation. (3)  The proper use, maintenance and storage of the electronic, mechanical or other devices. (4)  The recordings’ storage, accessibility and retrieval. (5)  Electronic records retention. (6)  The use of facial recognition software or programs. (7)  A statement that a violation of the agency's policy subjects the violator to the agency's disciplinary policy. (8)  Supervisory responsibilities. Enables the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to condition funding or a grant related to the implementation, use, maintenance or storage of body-worn cameras or recordings on: (1) Requiring the grantee to have protocols, guidelines or written policies related to the implementation, use, maintenance or storage of body-worn cameras. (2)  Requiring that such protocols, guidelines or written policies are publicly accessible, including being retrievable on a municipal website. (3)  Ensuring that the protocols, guidelines or written policies substantially comply with applicable recommendations by the commission.

South Carolina (HB 47) (2015) requires every police department in the state to implement a body camera program. It also establishes a “Body-Worn Cameras Fund” to assist police with the costs of buying, operating and maintaining all necessary equipment. It further stipulates that police departments are not required to implement their programs until they receive the necessary state funding. Additional provisions under the law require the creation of guidelines and operational procedures for body camera use and set standards for who may request and access data generated by the cameras.

South Carolina (HB 5001) (2016) appropriates $2.4 million for body-worn cameras to the Department of Public Safety. 

South Carolina (HB 3720) (2017) appropriates $2.4 million for body-worn cameras to the Department of Public Safety.

Texas (SB 158) (2015) authorizes police departments to apply to the Office of the Governor for a grant to aid with the cost of implementing a body camera program. The law requires the governor's office to administer the grant program. Any law enforcement agency that receives a grant is required to match 25 percent of the grant money. Agencies that receive grant money must also report their costs to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. The commission must then aggregate all reports and submit them annually to the Governor’s office. The law also enables agencies to enter into interagency contracts for body cameras. It also requires law enforcement agencies that receive a grant to adopt a policy for the use of body-worn cameras. The law prohibits any policy from requiring an officer film their entire shift. In addition, the law requires training for police on the use of body cameras and prohibits officers from using their own personal equipment.

Texas (SB 1849) (2017) requires law enforcement agencies that adopt detailed written policies on racial profiling to also examine the feasibility of equipping every officer who regularly detains or stops motor vehicles with a body-worn camera.

The Department of Public Safety is required to adopt rules for providing funds or equipment to law enforcement agencies for the purpose of equipping police officers with body-worn cameras. The department must also collaborate with an institution of higher education to identify agencies that need funds or equipment to equip officers with body-worn cameras. In order to receive funds or equipment, the governing body where the agency is located must certify that the agency needs the funds or equipment. Upon receiving the funds or equipment, the governing body and agency must certify that the agency is using the body-worn cameras.

Tennessee (SB 442) (2017) provides that law enforcement body-camera videos of certain incidents or situations shall be treated as confidential and not subject to public inspection. Those include videos of (1) minors, when taken within a school that serves any grades from kindergarten through grade 12, (2) The interior of a facility licensed under the state’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities code or the Health, Safety and Environmental Protection code or (3) The interior of a private residence that is not being investigated as a crime scene.

Utah (SB 82) (2015) mandates that each police department have a body camera policy requiring an officer executing a warrant to wear a body camera when one is available. It also requires that every officer comply with their agency’s body camera policy. 

Utah (HB 300) (2016) requires law enforcement agencies that use body cameras to have a written policy governing their use. Policies at a minimum are required to address the security, storage, and maintenance of data collected from cameras. Officers are required to ensure the proper functioning of their equipment, to wear the camera so that it is clearly visible, to activate the camera prior to an encounter and to document when a body camera was used in an encounter. Officers can deactivate a camera when consulting with a fellow officer, during periods of inactivity, when conversing with a victim, witness or informant, or if an individual requests that the officer stops recording. Officers must document the reason for deactivating a camera. The law requires officers with a body-worn camera who enter a private residence to give notice, when reasonable, that a camera is in use by wearing it in a clearly visible manner; or by giving audible notice. The law also prohibits officers from using body cameras for personal use, making a personal copy of a recording, duplicating or distributing a recording except as authorized by law and altering or deleting a recording. Determining when a recording is a public record requires the government entity to balance personal privacy interests with any public interests served by disclosure. The law also requires that recordings taken within a home are considered private unless they depict the commission of a crime, record any encounter between law enforcement officer and a person that results in death or bodily injury, or the discharge of the officer’s weapon, record any encounter that is the subject of a complaint or a legal proceeding against a law enforcement officer or law enforcement agency.

Utah (HB 381) (2017) provides that any release of recordings made by an officer while on duty or acting in the officer's official capacity as a law enforcement officer shall be subject to the Government Records Access and Management Act. A person who requests access to the recordings may immediately appeal to a district court any denial of access for certain enumerated reasons.

Utah (HB 435) (2017) amends the Government Records Access and Management Act to classify an audio or video recording created by a body-worn camera in a health care setting as a protected record. Provides that an audio or video recording created by a body-worn camera that records sound or images inside a hospital or health care facility, inside a clinic of a health care provider, or inside a human service program, are protected records except for recordings that: (A) Depict the commission of an alleged crime. (B) Record any encounter between a law enforcement officer and a person that results in death or bodily injury, or includes an instance when an officer fires a weapon. (C) Record any encounter that is the subject of a complaint or a legal proceeding against a law enforcement officer or law enforcement agency. (D) Contain an officer-involved critical incident.  (E) Have been requested for reclassification as a public record by a subject or authorized agent of a subject featured in the recording. Provides that an officer may not activate a body-worn camera in a hospital, health care facility, human service program, or the clinic of a health care provider, except during a law enforcement encounter, and with providing proper notice.

Utah (HB 265) (2018) specifies that recordings made by law enforcement officers while wearing body-worn cameras may not be retained by private entities if the entity has the authority to prevent access or disclosure of the recording. This provision does not apply if a law enforcement agency is already under contract with an entity that has this authority but the contract may not be renewed when it lapses.

Vermont (20 § 2367) has a law that, in part, required a study of their use in conjunction with electronic control devices.

Vermont (SB 174) (2016) requires the Law Enforcement Advisory Board to develop legislation for a model body camera policy. The board must report on cost saving measures and funding opportunities. The model policy must address when police should wear a camera, when the camera should be turned on and when officers should explain why they turned their cameras on and off. It should also address when recordings should be exempt from public records AND how situations should be handled when video is unavailable. 

Wyoming (SB 32) (2017) defines "peace officer recording" as any audio or video data recorded by a peace officer on a camera or other device which is: (A) Provided to or used by the peace officer in the course of the officer performing official business. (B) Designed to be worn on the peace officer's body or attached to a vehicle. The law denies the public inspection of peace officer recordings, except that the custodian shall allow the right of inspection to law enforcement personnel or public agencies for the purpose of conducting official business or pursuant to a court order. The custodian may allow the right of inspection: (A) To the person in interest. (B) If the information involves an incident of deadly force or serious bodily injury. (C) In response to a complaint against a law enforcement personnel and the custodian of the information determines inspection is not contrary to the public interest. (D) In the interest of public safety.

Washington (HB 2362) (2016) requires law enforcement agencies that use body-worn cameras to develop written policies. The policies must address when cameras should be activated and deactivated, how officer’s should respond when someone does not want to communicate with them on camera, how camera use and non-use should be documented, when an officer has to inform a member of the public they are being recorded, training requirements for officers to use cameras and data security rules.

Body-worn camera recording requests must specify a member of the public and law enforcement officer involved in the incident as well as the case number, date, time, and location of the incident in the requested recording. Body-worn camera recordings are exempt from public record disclosure to the extent it’s necessary to protect a person’s rights. Recordings are also exempt if they depict any areas of a medical facility, counseling, or therapeutic program office, the interior of a residence, a minor, a deceased person, or the identity of a victim or witness.

A person directly involved in an incident, and interested others including their attorney and civil rights boards, have the right to obtain the body worn camera recording. A law enforcement or corrections agency responding to requests from these individuals cannot require the requesting individual to pay costs of any redacting, altering, distorting, pixelating, suppressing, or otherwise obscuring any portion of a body worn camera recording.

The law also creates a task force to report on the use of body-worn cameras in health care facilities. The task force must report its findings by Dec. 1, 2017. The report must include, recommendations regarding costs assessed to requesters, policies adopted by agencies, retention and retrieval of data, model policies regarding body worn cameras.

Washington (SB 6408) (2018) expands body-worn camera policies to include all law enforcement agencies, not just those that had deployed the technology as of a certain date. Disclosing a body-worn camera recording that includes an intimate image is presumed to be “highly offensive to a reasonable person.” This legislation defines intimate image to include images of individuals engaged in sexual activity or an individual’s intimate body parts.

The pre-eminent study on body-worn cameras, a field experiment conducted by the Rialto, Calif., Police Department, found that when police were equipped with cameras during the test period, use of force incidents and citizen complaints against officers were reduced by 50 and 90 percent respectively. Their findings spurred national interest in the benefits body cameras could potentially provide. However, according to a November 2015 report from The Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University, at the time existing research on body-worn cameras left gaps in our understanding of their effect, with several important questions, such as whether body cameras have an impact on police performing their duties within the bounds of the Fourth Amendment, receiving little to no evaluative attention. The report provides a detailed account of which questions were addressed in each available body camera study. Since then, research into body-worn cameras has continued to progress. See below for a list of recent studies.

Cost is a significant challenge for states and localities seeking to implement body-worn cameras. In 2015, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) awarded $22.5 million to state and local police departments as part of their Body-Worn Camera Pilot Implementation Program. BJA fielded 285 applications from 42 states, ultimately granting 73 awards. See a breakdown of funding provided to state and local police departments..

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