Body camera bill modest move toward transparency

Next week, the Assembly Public Safety Committee will consider a measure by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) to require any police agency utilizing body cameras to develop a policy on public access to footage captured by police to the fullest extent authorized by the California Public Records Act. The policy would be required to be conspicuously posted on the agency’s website.

AB 748 is an incremental step to bring transparency to the disclosure policies related to body cameras. Last legislative session, a number of body camera bills were introduced to tackle bigger issues of disclosability. Each of those measures failed.

There is a second body camera bill in the Assembly, AB 459 by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park) which attempts to address when body camera footage should be withheld or redacted. This bill is set for hearing after the spring recess.