Will Arizona follow the national trend in banning police body worn camera footage?
As more law enforcement agencies in Arizona suit up officers with body-worn cameras, public access to this footage becomes a controversial topic.
The past several years has triggered a strong national reaction in regards to police-involved incidents resulting in death or serious bodily injury. In response, the national government and law enforcement agencies believe that cameras will include better evidence documentation and increased accountability and transparency.
As the program implementation rapidly expands through the country, one of the biggest questions surrounding cameras is whether the video footage should be eligible for public release under public record laws.
“The technology is ahead of the policy at this point,” said Chuck Wagner, deputy director of public affairs at the U.S. department of Justice, in charge of grant funding for cameras.
Law enforcement agencies are grappling with how to effectively manage this new stream of evidence, because cameras presents unique challenges and privacy threats that many state legislatures are debating. In the meantime, departments use their own discretion for how they deal with requests for video.
Arizona does not have official police body-worn cameras legislation on the books yet, so police departments statewide abide by Arizona public disclosure laws as guidelines to govern when footage is subject to public release….