Bill restricting some police body camera footage passes committee

Posted at 6:07 PM, Mar 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-07 20:07:46-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Restricting certain types of police body camera footage to the public cleared another hurdle in the legislature Monday.

House Bill 300 unanimously passed a senate judiciary committee. The legislation would protect certain types of body camera video taken inside homes from being released to the general public.

This bill basically states that if police officers enter someone's home the body cam video taken from inside the home does not have to be made available to the public.

Bill co-sponsor, Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, said some body cam video could show the layout of someone's house and what's inside, which he considers an invasion of privacy.

"The level of protection really wasn't where it needs to be consistent with the fourth amendment expectation that every citizen has," Thatcher said.

Under the bill, the video would only be available to the public if it directly involves a police officer.

Lawmakers say if police are responding to something like a burglary, it doesn't need to be shared with the general public.

"Where we are outfitting every officer in the state with a camera that is a level of intrusion that is absolutely unprecedented and so they need to have some protection from that being released unless there is a compelling public interest," Thatcher said.

Lawmakers expect this bill to be passed into law. A number of agencies, including police and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah worked together when it comes to input on this bill.