MACo Action Alert: Help Save Body Cameras
MACo Action Alert: Help Save Body Cameras - Contact Your Legislators
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Please contact your Senators on the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee & Delegates on the House Judiciary Committee and urge them to support SB 930/HB 947 with the sponsors’ amendments.
SB 930/HB 947 is MACo’s initiative bill to protect victims and police departments from unfair release of body camera footage. The bill’s sponsor has introduced amendments agreed upon by many supportive stakeholders.
This bill provides needed guidance on the release of body camera video under the Maryland Public Information Act. The bill maintains police accountability and transparency, protects the rights of vulnerable victims, and keeps “fishing expeditions” from impeding this useful public safety tool.
SB 930/HB 947 keeps people affected by a police incident able to get relevant footage. And important incidents would remain open to the press and anyone. But it prevents the wide-cast footage requests that have crippled programs elsewhere.
The sponsors, Senator Ferguson & Delegate Sydnor, brought together many stakeholders who are comfortable with the bill – law enforcement, victim’s rights groups, the press have all helped to shape these amendments. Counties believe that passing a good bill here will help more departments use this technology.
Despite the wide consensus, one remaining hostile amendment is being offered. A section of the bill lists categories of camera footage that SHALL not be revealed under public information laws. It is there to protect victims, children, confidential informants, and ongoing investigations. PLEASE DON’T TURN THAT SHALL INTO A MAY. Making these all judgment calls weakens the protections for victims, and forces costly legal/judgment review by custodians. It ruins the bill.
Contact your Senators on the Judicial Proceedings Committee & Delegates on the Judiciary Committee, and urge them to SUPPORT SB 930/HB 947 with the sponsors’ amendments.
MACo Contact: Email Les Knapp, Legal & Policy Counsel