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04/14/2021 05:02 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20210&cosponId=34163
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 14, 2021 12:30 PM
From: Representative Stephen Kinsey and Rep. Amen Brown
To: All House members
Subject: Greater Transparency for PA Law Enforcement Body-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 public with much needed clarity and transparency about departmental policies relating to the use of body-worn cameras, our 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, our 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, we urge you to please join us as a co-sponsor of this truly worthwhile and common-sense initiative.
 
IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT, WHEN INTRODUCED IN PREVIOUS SESSIONS, THIS MEASURE HAD THE SUPPORT OF THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE, THE PENNSYLVANIA CHIEFS OF POLICE ASSOCIATION, THE PENNSYLVANIA DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION, AND THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE.