State Law Enforcement Body Camera Policies

Introduction

Law Enforcement Body Camera imageIn the wake of recent events, many states are considering law enforcement body camera policies. EPIC opposes the use of "police cams" and warned Congress that body cameras could "become the next surveillance technology disproportionately aimed at the most marginalized members of society." EPIC also pointed to the potential liability for cities if harmful images are posted online. EPIC explained that there are "more productive means to achieve police accountability that do not carry the risk of increasing surveillance." EPIC stressed that if body cameras are deployed, police departments must comply with all privacy and open government laws. EPIC has also testified before the D.C. City Council on the issue.

State Laws: California, Florida and North Dakota

California considers body-camera videos public records and requires law enforcement to release video to the public no later than 45 days after an incident is recorded. The law has minor exceptions for disclosure including if releasing the video would violate the privacy rights of individuals depicted. Florida and North Dakota have recently passed laws regarding the availability of police cam footage under public records laws. Florida's law exempts from public records law any body camera video obtained inside a private residence, a health care, mental health care or social services facility or is taken in a place that a reasonable person would expect to be private. North Dakota's law exempts any images taken in a private place by law enforcement from open records law.

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Additional Resources

Pending Legislation

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