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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=23857
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: May 9, 2017 09:53 AM
From: Representative Stephen Kinsey
To: All House members
Subject: Providing for Greater Transparency in the Utilization of Body-Worn Cameras by Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Agencies (Re-Introduction)
 
In the near future, I will re-introduce legislation – former House Bill 2425 of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session – to provide a greater degree of transparency to citizens residing in locales where law enforcement agencies have adopted a departmental policy to outfit their officers with body-worn cameras.

While an increasing number of Pennsylvania’s law enforcement agencies are voluntarily adopting policies to outfit their officers with body-worn camera technology, there are many other important aspects of this technology that need to be comprehensively considered, particularly when it comes to the question of departmental protocols governing general usage, access, retention and the redaction of recordings. In an effort to provide the general public with much needed clarity and transparency about departmental policies relating to the use of body-worn cameras, my legislation proposes the following:
  • Directs any law enforcement agency employing the use of body-worn cameras to develop an official policy governing when cameras are activated and disabled;
  • Directs any law enforcement agency utilizing body-worn cameras to develop official policies relating to access of recordings, retention of recordings, and the redaction of recordings;
  • Limits who can obtain access to recordings (e.g., the subject of recording, the attorney of the subject of a recording, the guardian of a subject of a recording, etc.); and
  • Requires that the adopted policies of law enforcement agencies relating to body-worn cameras be made available via a publicly accessible Internet website.

To be clear, in recognition of the fact that there are more than 1,100 police departments in Pennsylvania, my legislation does not mandate a uniform set of policies. It instead simply requires that our law enforcement agencies develop their own custom-made policies and that they make the details of said policies available to the general public.

Therefore, if you value the importance of providing our law enforcement officials with an additional tool to fight crime while simultaneously providing a greater sense of transparency to the general public, I urge you to please join me as a co-sponsor of this truly worthwhile and common sense initiative.

IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THIS MEASURE HAS THE SUPPORT OF THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE, THE PA CHIEFS OF POLICE ASSOCIATION, THE PENNSYLVANIA DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION, AND THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE.



Introduced as HB1740