The policy spelled out in law enforcement body camera legislation has received support from California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
The Attorney General was quoted in the Los Angeles Times on May 28 saying that law enforcement agencies should “use the discretion to figure out what technology they’re going to adopt based on the needs that they have and the resources that they have.”
The bill, SB 175 authored by state Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff (R-San Dimas), will require each law enforcement department or agency that chooses to require officers to wear cameras to develop a policy relating to the use of the cameras. In addition, the bill requires the camera policy to be developed in collaboration with nonsupervisory officers and include the duration, time, and place when cameras shall be worn and operational.
The bill further seeks to establish the length of time video collected by officers will be stored, the procedures for and limitations on public and officer access to recordings taken by BWCs. Huff’s legislation also mandates guidelines for officer training regarding body cameras.
SB 175 recently passed out of the Senate with unanimous support and is awaiting committee hearings in the California State Assembly.
“I’m pleased that AG Harris sees the value of the legislative policy I’m promoting with SB 175,” Huff said. “She appears to agree that it’s important that any policies set on the state level remain flexible so that local agencies can develop procedures that line up with community needs and agency resources.”
According to the Police Executive Research Forum of 2014, “Law enforcement agencies that require officers to use body cameras, report that the technology definitely improves community relationships by improving the performance of officers as well as the conduct of the community members who are recorded.”
Proponents of SB 175 claim it demonstrates an even-handed approach to a serious public safety issue by keeping the discussion focused on the public safety and privacy rights of all citizens as well as police officers.
The legislation has drawn the support of numerous law enforcement organizations and cities including the Peace Officers Research Association of California, California Police Chiefs Association, California Peace Officers Association, Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association, Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, Long Beach Police Officers Association, Santa Ana Police Officers Association and the League of California Cities.