The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press launched an interactive, online map charting the policies of more than 100 police departments and laws in nearly every state regarding public access to police body camera videos. “In the past year, we’ve seen dramatic growth in the number of police departments implementing bodycam programs. Unfortunately, not all police departments and lawmakers appreciate the importance of ensuring public access to bodycam video and other public records that are generated by those programs,” said Reporters Committee Litigation Director Katie Townsend.
“Compiling bodycam policies, laws and regulations into one user-friendly database will make it easier to identify best practices to achieve the transparency and accountability these programs are intended to promote,” Townsend added. The project was made possible by a grant from the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of the Society of Professional Journalists. Built with Google Maps, the map shows which states have passed bodycam legislation, which are considering action and which have nothing on the books. Clicking on a state will bring up links to legislation and other materials, if available. By clicking on individual cities, users can quickly see police department policies regarding the release of bodycam video to the public. Also included are relevant court decisions.