ADVOCACY A.P.B!

Body Camera Legislation Sets Use Guidelines
Week of March 30, 2015 
By Shaun Rundle, Government Affairs and Public Safety Specialist 
 
Since being introduced after the New Year, a number of bills relating to body-worn cameras have evolved into outlining specific requirements for agencies using the devices. Legislators first introduced their bills with limited language while they awaited input from organizations such as CPOA regarding the privacy concerns and device and data storage costs. The pieces of legislation below have been amended to somewhat incorporate these concerns.

AB 65 (Alejo-D) - This bill would require the Board of State and Community Corrections (BCC) to develop a grant program to make funds available to local law enforcement entities to purchase body-worn cameras and related data storage and equipment, and to hire personnel necessary to operate a local body-worn camera program. The bill would create the Body-worn Camera Fund, which would continuously appropriate funds to the BCC for those purposes. 

  Key Provisions: 
Replaces current monthly allocation from the State Penalty Fund to Driver Training Penalty Assessment Fund, with transfer from State Penalty Fund to Body-worn Camera Fund. 
If federal funds are available, BCC will either apply for funds on behalf of a law enforcement agency, or reimburse an agency that has expended funds in pursuit of federal funds.
Due to the bill mandating appropriations, it needs 2/3 majority of legislature to pass.

AB 66 (Weber-D) –AB 66 establishes requirements if a law enforcement agency requires its officers to wear body-worn cameras. Requires officers to, among other things, activate the camera when responding to calls for assistance and performing law enforcement activities in the field, and prohibit deactivating the cameras during encounters with a member of the public until the conclusion of that encounter.

  Requirements in the bill: 
Officers must activate the camera when responding to calls for assistance in the field.
Prohibits deactivation of cameras during encounters with the public, until the encounter concludes.
Prohibits use in hospital emergency room when use would violate patient privacy.
Prohibits use during an ambulance response to accident or illness when victim(s) are not involved in criminal activity.
Prohibits use when it would risk the safety of a CI or undercover officer, or during a protest or demonstration.
Officers would be required to give notice of camera to victims of rape, incest, domestic violence, and sexual harm and provide an opportunity for those victims to request the camera be turned off.
Officers must give similar notice when at a private residence without a warrant, or in a nonemergency situation.
Officers must only use cameras approved by their employing agency.
Prohibits use while in personal conversation with another member of law enforcement without their consent.
Prohibits use where reasonable expectation of privacy exists.
Video footage must be retained for at least one year, unless conditions apply.
Specifies that requests for files are to be processed in accordance with California Public Records Act (CPRA).

AB 69 (Rodriguez-D) - Current law makes it a crime to intentionally record a confidential communication without the consent of all parties to the communication. Current law exempts specified peace officers from that provision if they are acting within the scope of their authority. This bill would require law enforcement agencies to follow specified best practices when establishing policies and procedures for downloading and storing data from body-worn cameras.

   Key Provisions: 
Removes previous bill language that mandated that cameras capture all interactions with the public.
Outlines best practices for template for agency policies and procedures regarding data downloading and storage.
Best Practices:
o Designate a person responsible for downloading data from a body-worn camera.
o Establish when data should be downloaded.
o Implement measures to prevent data tampering, copying and deletion.
o Categorize and tag data by incident type.
o State length of time data is to be stored.
o State where data will be stored.
If using third party vendor to manage data, consider:
o Using an experienced and reputable vendor.
o Entering into contracts that protect the data and governs the vendor relationship.
o Using a system with an audit trail to prevent data tampering.
o Using a system with reliable data storage backup.
o Consulting with internal legal counsel to ensure storage methods meet chain-of-custody concerns.
o Using a system with technical assistance capabilities.

AB 1246 (Quirk-D) – This legislation would prohibit the disclosure of a recording made by a body worn camera, except for requiring disclosure to the person whose image is recorded by the body worn camera.

   Key Provisions: 
Recording by a body-worn camera is confidential, and CPRA request shall not be disclosed, except to the person whose image is recorded.
Defines “body worn camera” as a device attached to the uniform or body or a peace officer that records video, audio, or
both, in a digital or analog format.
Puts language into the Government Code that reads “the need to protect individual privacy from the public disclosure of images captured by a body worn camera outweighs the interest in the public disclosure of that information.” 

SB 175 (Huff-R) - Would require each department or agency that employs peace officers and that elects to require those peace officers to wear body-worn cameras to develop a policy relating to the use of body-worn cameras. The bill would require the policy to be developed in collaboration with nonsupervisory officers and to include certain provisions, including, among others, the duration, time, and place that body-worn cameras shall be worn and operational. The bill would also require the policy to be provided to each officer required to wear a body-worn camera.

   Key Provisions: 
Policy shall be developed in collaboration with nonsupervisory officers.
Must include: 
o Duration, time and place that cameras are to be worn and operational.
o Length of time video will be stored by department.
o Procedures for public access to recordings.
Above policies must be provided to each officer required to wear a camera.

CPOA will continue to advise the legislature on benefits and concerns of body-worn cameras, and keep our membership updated on the progress of these bills. 


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