- Associated Press - Thursday, October 8, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Granting the public full access to video taken from police body cameras raises questions about privacy issues and technical limitations, a panel of experts said Thursday in Des Moines.

The public forum on body cameras included discussions on how the devices might affect victims’ privacy and the feasibility of authorities storing thousands of hours of footage, The Des Moines Register reported (https://dmreg.co/1R1LkJa ).

“What we deal with is very sensitive, and a lot of it is highly confidential, when it pertains to victims,” said panelist Judy Bradshaw, director of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy and former Des Moines police chief.

Support for law enforcement to use body cameras gained traction over the past year as allegations of police misconduct were reported around the country. Some advocates say the devices can keep officials accountable.

But the panelists questioned the effects of offering the public full access to footage and whether it would violate victims’ or officers’ privacy. The panelists said such access is unrealistic.

Sen. Jeff Danielson, a Cedar Falls Democrat who was also on the panel, said he expects body cameras to come up during the next legislative session that begins in January.

“We’re at a very early stage with this particular issue, so my gut tells me the legislators will struggle with this,” he told the crowd of about 60 people.

Other panelists at Thursday’s forum were Jeremy Rosen, American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa executive director; Jerry Anderson, law professor at Drake University; and Steve Delaney, editor and publisher of The Hawk Eye newspaper in Burlington.

Delaney’s newsroom has requested public records for its coverage of an officer-involved shooting in January that killed a 34-year-old woman. He said he will continue to push for more availability of police camera footage.

“The public has the right to know,” he said.


Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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