On March 1, in a vote of 95-2, the Washington state House of Representatives approved Senate Bill 6408, aimed at clarifying the rules surrounding the use of police body cameras. The measure is sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley.
Legislation approved in 2016 established public-disclosure and other requirements relating to body-worn camera recordings and created the Joint Legislative Task Force on Body Worn Cameras.
Padden, who co-chaired the task force, said the bill passed by the House today represents an exercise in balance.
“Overall this is a balanced bill that supports truth and accountability, while protecting privacy and decency in the process,” he said. “I’m very pleased it had such overwhelming support in both chambers.”
“Body cams are generally a good thing, and they show what they show. They protect the public against police excesses, which do happen, and they protect officers from false allegations.”
SB 6408 will make permanent the existing requirements and Public Records Act provisions governing body-worn cameras and apply them to all law-enforcement and corrections agencies deploying body-worn cameras. The bill also will strengthen privacy protections for intimate images in such recordings, and clarify record-retention requirements for body-worn camera recordings.
The bill now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee for a signature.