Please contact your Senators on the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and urge them to support HB 947. This is MACo’s initiative bill to balance out how the Public Information Act affects footage from body cameras. The bill protects the privacy of officers, victims, and children, while also protecting your department’s bottom line.
The bill passed the House overwhelmingly, but has been stuck in the Senate Committee all session. Today’s the last day for them to act. PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL TODAY.
This bill provides needed guidance on the release of body camera video under the Maryland Public Information Act. The bill maintains police accountability and transparency, protects the rights of vulnerable victims, and keeps “fishing expeditions” from impeding this useful public safety tool.
HB 947 keeps people affected by a police incident able to get relevant footage. And important incidents would remain open to the press and anyone. But it prevents the wide-cast footage requests that have crippled programs elsewhere.
The sponsor, Delegate Sydnor, brought together many stakeholders who are comfortable with the bill – law enforcement, victim’s rights groups, the press have all helped to shape these amendments.
HB 947 is a good bill, reflecting tremendous amounts of stakeholder input and compromise.
MACo Contact: Les Knapp, Legal & Policy Counsel, MACo