In 2016, the Legislature passed HB 2362 outlining establishing privacy and public records protections for those jurisdictions with a body-worn cameras program.

As a reminder, the legislation included the following provisions:

Directs agencies that use body-worn cameras to address certain issues in locally adopted policies including when an officer is to begin or stop a recording.

Strongly encourages the legislative authority of a city or town to adopt an ordinance authorizing the use of body cameras.

Establishes additional privacy protections by specifying certain types of images as “highly offensive” including things like the interior of a residence, intimate images, minors, medical facility treatment areas, and domestic violence victims.

Requires that a request for recordings identify a specific time and date, a specific officer, incident or case number, or the name of a person involved.

Allows an agency to recover costs for providing redaction of recordings to those not directly involved in an incident.

Learn more about HB 2362 here. 

The Act sunsets on July 1, 2019; however, recordings made during the effective time frame of the Act retain the protections granted in the Act.

The legislation also created a task force consisting of legislative members, local government groups, civil rights organizations, law enforcement advocacy groups, the news media and others. The task force has until December 1, 2017 to finalize a report to the Legislature on the following items:

  • Costs assessed to requesters;
  • Policies adopted by agencies;
  • Model body-worn camera policies;
  • The use of body-worn cameras in health care facilities; and
  • The use of body-worn cameras for gathering evidence surveillance, and police accountability.

The task force had their first meeting of 2017 at the end of September and will meet again on October 16th. Current task force discussions are focused on how the privacy protections under the Public Records Act for body-worn cameras are working, as well as the extent to which agencies are using the provisions that allow for charging for certain body-worn camera video.

The expectation is the task force will likely meet once more before finalizing the report to the Legislature.

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Jennifer has over 20 years of legislative and government relations experience. She served as staff counsel to the Senate and House Transportation Committees, the Government Relations Director for the Washington State Department of Transportation, and Governor Christine Gregoire’s Legislative Director and Transportation Policy Advisor. She is the owner of Jennifer Ziegler Public Affairs, representing both public and private sector clients.
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