Body cameras are now used by the majority of police departments in the United States but the laws about these devices remain a mystery for many civilians. One of the most asked questions is: are police body camera footages public record? The answer to that is yes, but there’s a “but”.
Thanks to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), yes, photos and videos taken with police body-worn cameras are public record. Any civilian can ask for any digital evidence recorded with these devices at any time. But will it be provided to them instantly? That’s where it gets complicated. Police departments need to review every single file before releasing it to the public. If these files contain any faces, these need to be blurred (redacted) in order to not violate any private individual’s privacy. That’s a tedious job that requires a massive amount of time from police officers. Only then are these videos allowed to be released to the public, which could mean days. Luckily, some police body camera manufacturers already offer a complete evidence management software for police departments that features automatic smart redaction, a service that’ll save departments a lot of time by blurring out faces at the click of a button in a matter of seconds.
Police body cameras were created to serve the people. It would be pointless for these files to not be available to the general public. But, as explained in this article, there’s a lot more to that than meets the eye.
Click here to learn more about Automatic Smart Redaction and how it could save your department money and countless hours of work.