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Legislators Considering Statewide Rules for Police Body Cameras

Brian Grimmett
Col. Daniel Fuhr, Utah Highway Patrol, testifies in front of the Administrative Rules Review Committee

State lawmakers are considering drafting legislation that would govern the use of police body cameras for all law enforcement agencies.

There are 140 law enforcement entities in the state of Utah, and while many don’t use body cameras yet, the agencies that do all have their own policies on how to handle when to record, how long the video is stored, and who is allowed to access it. Senator Mark Madsen is on the Administrative Rules Review Committee. He says he thinks it’s time to craft narrow legislation that sets parameters for agencies across the state.

“Again, it’s not necessarily fair for us to say, here’s a general policy direction, go figure it out you agencies, and fill it in," he says. "We’re not doing our job, we’re asking them to do our job. That’s not fair to the people we represent. It’s not fair to the folks that are on the street carrying this out.”

Rep. Curt Webb was one of several members of the committee that agreed with that position.

“The difference, really, between policy and rule is that there’s a significant public input component to rulemaking that there isn’t in making policy," Webb says. "And I’m not sure there isn’t a rule that couldn’t be applied statewide.”

But Col. Daniel Fuhr of the Utah Highway Patrol says a cookie cutter policy might require more resources than some smaller agencies have.

“I don’t know if they could adopt our exact policy," he says. "Our retention policy is going to be different than another smaller police agency. Our archive policy is a little different.”

Other concerns brought up during the meeting included whether the state should help pay to equip officers with body cameras and if should they exempt the video from Utah’s open records laws

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