When Police Use Body Cameras, Who Can Get The Footage?


When Denver Police Department leaders talk about plans to field 800 body cameras within the force, they talk about the credibility and transparency cameras will bring, says the Denver Post. Questions loom about how the footage will be used, including whether videos will be released only when it benefits the department while damning videos never see the light of day. Others are concerned about privacy issues of those caught on camera.

Some who distrust officers are convinced bad cops will find ways to avoid recording public interaction. Denise Maes of the American Civil Liberties Union said her organization supports the body camera program because it can improve police accountability and oversight. However, the cameras can only be effective if good and clear policies are in effect,” she said. At a public forum on the issue last week, people questioned who has access, who can delete or edit videos and who decides when the public can see the footage. “We’ve seen elsewhere where footage is really hard to get access to when people feel their rights have been violated,” said Tania Soto Valenzuela of the Colorado Progressive Coalition. “We really want to work on how we can have equal access to those videos.”

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