MI House Passes Body Camera Legislation

May 24, 2017

Police officers in the state would follow stricter guidelines for body camera use under a law that passed through the State House of Representatives this week.

 

 


 

There are currently no specific state standards that police departments have to abide by regarding body cameras. That would change if this bill goes into effect.

 

It would require police departments to have written policies on using and maintaining body cameras. It would also establish rules for retaining and releasing footage.

 

One portion of the bill excludes footage shot in private places from being obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

Republican Representative Jim Runestad sponsored the bill and says these guidelines ensure that the people of Michigan can have confidence in body camera programs.

 

Lisa McGraw of the Michigan Press Association opposes the legislation. She says if there is an instance of an officer behaving inappropriately, the public should know.

 

“We just have concerns. We feel like the body cam itself is a great tool to provide accountability and help build trust between the police and the community, and when they limit access to that footage that kind of erodes that,” says McGraw.

 

The bill passed unanimously in the house, and will now move to the Senate.