THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

569

TWENTY-NINTH LEGISLATURE, 2017

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to law enforcement.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that an increasing number of states are addressing the issue of law enforcement agencies' use of body-worn video cameras and vehicle cameras as a means to protect civilians and law enforcement officers. A body-worn video camera worn by a law enforcement officer or mounted on a law enforcement vehicle's dashboard can act as a third-party, independent witness by recording events that occur while in the field.

The legislature further finds that people who are aware that they are being videotaped are more inclined to alter their behavior, as they know that they will likely be held accountable for their actions. In light of the recent incidents involving law enforcement officers and the alleged use of unnecessary force, body-worn video cameras and vehicle cameras can provide law enforcement officers and civilians the security of knowing that a law enforcement officer's or civilian's statements about an incident may be corroborated by the video or audio recording obtained through the body-worn video camera or vehicle camera.

The legislature also finds that there is a strong public interest in certain types of video footage recorded by the use of body-worn cameras and vehicle cameras, particularly in events that involve the use of force or events leading up to an arrest for a felony offense. However, at the same time, there is a privacy interest held by the individuals recorded in the video footage. As a result, determining whether video footage is subject to public disclosure requirements may be difficult.

The purpose of this Act is to promote transparency and accountability with regard to video footage obtained by body-worn or vehicle cameras used by law enforcement agencies and protect the significant privacy interests of individuals who are captured in the video footage by establishing public disclosure requirements for video footage obtained by law enforcement body-worn or vehicle cameras.

SECTION 2. Chapter 92F, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part II to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"92F-   Disclosure of video footage records; law enforcement agencies. (a) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a law enforcement agency shall make available for public inspection and duplication video footage if:

(1) The video footage captures images involving any use of force;

(2) The video footage captures images involving events leading up to and including an arrest for a felony offense or events that involve a felony offense;

(3) The video footage captures images involving an encounter about a complaint that has been registered by the subject of video footage unless the subject of video footage objects in writing to the disclosure; or

(4) All subjects of video footage, except for law enforcement officers, consent in writing to the disclosure; provided that:

(A) The parent or legal guardian of a minor who is the subject of video footage, or a deceased subject's next of kin or legally authorized designee, may provide consent on behalf of the subject of video footage; and

(B) The subject of video footage or the subject's legal representative shall be permitted to review the relevant video footage before deciding whether to consent to its disclosure.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in this section, video footage captured on body-worn or vehicle cameras may not be subject to disclosure and may constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy unless the public interest in disclosure outweighs the privacy interest of the individual in accordance with section 92F-14.

(c) A law enforcement agency shall not delete or destroy without a court order any body-worn or vehicle camera video footage that documents an incident involving the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer, or is otherwise related to an administrative or criminal investigation of a law enforcement officer.

(d) As used in this section:

"Body-worn camera" means a recording device that is:

(1) Capable of recording video and audio or transmitting video and audio to be recorded remotely; and

(2) Worn on the person of a law enforcement officer, which shall include being attached to the law enforcement officer's clothing or worn as glasses.

"Law enforcement agency" means any county police department, the department of public safety, and any state or county public body that employs law enforcement officers.

"Law enforcement officer" means a sheriff, deputy sheriff, police officer, enforcement officer within the department of land and natural resources conservation and resources enforcement program, enforcement officer within the department of transportation harbors division, and any other employee of a state or county public body who carries a badge and firearm and has powers of arrest.

"Subject of video footage" means any law enforcement officer or any suspect, victim, detainee, conversant, injured party, or other similarly situated person who appears on body-worn or vehicle camera, and shall not include individuals who only incidentally appear on a recording.

"Vehicle camera" means a recording device that is:

(1) Capable of recording video or audio or transmitting video or audio to be recorded remotely; and

(2) Mounted in or on a law enforcement vehicle.

"Video footage" means video or audio recording that is recorded by using a body-worn or vehicle camera."

SECTION 3. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Law Enforcement; Body-worn Cameras; Vehicle Cameras; Video Footage; Records; Public Disclosure

 

Description:

Establishes public disclosure requirements for video footage obtained by law enforcement body-worn or vehicle cameras.

 

 

 

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