Kentucky state police policy public record

Dictates where and when cameras can be used

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And individual police departments—in some cases, without specific state laws to guide them—are developing their own policies for when to turn cameras on and off, how long to store footage, and when to release videos to the public. Nine states have passed legislation specifying when and where cameras can be used, while similar bills are pending in 16 states.

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Pennsylvania is one of 37 states as of January 1 that restricts recordings where privacy is expected, but state legislators are seeking to amend that law for police officers. Some law enforcement officials are concerned that officers will be distracted if they have to turn the camera on and off during a chase or accidentally violate the law in the rush to respond.

Until the state law is changed, Pittsburgh police officers have been instructed to shut off their cameras as soon as they are dispatched to a private residence. Nearly every state has exemptions to the public records laws for law enforcement, and those exemptions can stand in the way of realizing greater transparency through body-worn cameras. In response , the Seattle Police Department launched its own YouTube channel of body-camera videos in early The department is waiting to see if the legislature will address how public records requests apply to police body-camera videos.

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While support for body-worn cameras is high, La Vigne cautions that deployment may be speeding ahead of policy development and evaluation. To help advance that conversation, the Urban Institute is identifying best practices for how officers tell people that they are being recorded and studying how differences in body-worn camera policies affect police use of force, citizen complaints, and police-community relations.

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On the other hand, the main purpose of body cameras is to enhance transparency. The good news is that state legislators are quickly refining the legal framework surrounding body-worn cameras, hopefully in a way that serves both interests. As an organization, the Urban Institute does not take positions on issues, but it does empower and support its experts in sharing their own evidence-based views and policy recommendations that have been shaped by scholarship.

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Nancy G. La Vigne and Margaret Ulle.