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Published on Friday, January 8, 2016

Police body-worn camera bill set for hearing

Incidents involving police use of force have created community outrage in numerous communities across the country, including in our own state. Many have urged cities to equip officers with body-worn cameras to improve accountability. There is strong agreement that body-worn cameras can be a valuable tool for law enforcement and help with accountability. However, in Washington, concerns arise that managing the large amount of video recordings under our public records laws would create an enormous and expensive burden for local government. Additionally, without clear protections, the recordings could be released impinging on an individual’s privacy.

A number of legislators have been working on this issue and are seeking solutions to address these concerns. AWC has supported the work of Rep. Drew Hansen (D-Bainbridge Island) to draft a bill that would help address the concerns around the public records implications and establish a work group to look at body-worn camera issues and make recommendations.

HB 1917 & HB 2362 is being heard by the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, January 14 at 1:30 pm. AWC will testify in support of the bill. Cities interested in weighing in on this bill can contact Candice Bock for more information.