Senate passes bill creating guidelines for law enforcement body cameras
STATEHOUSE (March 1, 2016) – The Indiana Senate passed 49-1 House Bill (HB) 1019 that would create guidelines for law enforcement agencies choosing to incorporate body cameras and other recording technology into their departments.
This legislation, authored by State Rep. Kevin Mahan (R-Hartford City), would ensure that law enforcement recordings are utilized effectively and that all persons involved are protected. If enacted, HB 1019 would protect both individual privacy rights and ongoing investigations while also allowing for public transparency of law enforcement activity.
“This legislation was created to deal with the growing presence of body cameras in Indiana. As a former sheriff, I understand the need for these guidelines and the impact they could have on our local communities,” Mahan said. “Balancing transparency for the public while maintaining privacy rights for the individual is our responsibility when implementing this technology.”
Under this proposal, any person may inspect or copy a law enforcement recording depicting evidence pertaining to excessive police force or a civil rights violation. As for other incidents, the person depicted in a recording, their family or persons who are victims of a crime may view the specific recording clip. This legislation creates specific guidelines on obscuring images in a video including images depicting injury or death. It also creates procedures for persons to petition county courts to obtain a viewing or copy if they were denied access by the law enforcement department on the basis of circumstances such as protecting an ongoing investigation or ensuring a fair trial.
Mahan explained that HB 1019 will now return to the House for further consideration and will likely be assigned to a conference committee. To read more about this legislation, visit www.iga.in.gov.
Rep. Mahan represents portions of Blackford, Delaware, Grant and Wells counties.