Bill description: HB 499 defines “law enforcement media recordings” and requires they be retained for a fixed period of time before they are disposed of by law enforcement.
Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency or accountability? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency or accountability?
HB 499 would define law enforcement media recordings, such as footage from body-cameras or dash-cameras, as a “digital record created by a law enforcement agency in the performance of its duties that consists of a recording of visual or audible components or both.” Law enforcement would be required to keep digital records with evidentiary value for 200 days and all other records for 60 days. Recordings from security cameras affixed to a building would have to be stored for 14 days. Evidentiary value is defined as “containing information relevant to (i) Any use of force by a government agency; (ii) Any events leading up to and including an arrest or citation for a criminal offense; (iii) Any events that constitute a criminal offense; (iv) Any encounter about which a complaint has been filed by a subject, or his representative, of the media recording; (v) Any encounter about which a valid public records request has been filed by a subject, or his representative, of the media recording.”
HB 499 would ensure law enforcement media recordings are available to the public in cases of misuse of power or other unjust acts by law enforcement, even while reducing the excessive storage costs which would come if there is no way to purge abundant recordings.
STAY CONNECTED with the latest news, research and opinions from the Gem State.