Bill Summary for H 395 (2015-2016)
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AN ACT TO REQUIRE MOST LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS TO WEAR AND ACTIVATE BODY-WORN CAMERAS DURING CERTAIN INTERACTIONS WITH THE PUBLIC, TO ESTABLISH A USE POLICY FOR BODY-WORN CAMERAS AND DASHBOARD CAMERAS, AND TO ESTABLISH AN ACCESS POLICY FOR RECORDINGS CAPTURED BY BODY-WORN CAMERAS AND DASHBOARD CAMERAS.Intro. by Alexander, Floyd, Hanes.
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Adds new Article 7, Body-Worn Cameras and Dashboard Cameras in GS Chapter 15A. Requires a law enforcement officer to wear and activate a body‑worn camera during any recordable interaction and inform the person the law enforcement officer is interacting with that the interaction is being recorded. Prohibits deactivating a body‑worn camera until (1) the conclusion of the recordable interaction; (2) the law enforcement officer has left the scene; (3) a supervisor, while being recorded, authorizes the law enforcement officer to deactivate the body‑worn camera; or (4) an exception listed in the statute authorizes deactivation. Specifies actions that must be taken before deactivating a body‑worn camera. Specifies seven exceptions to the requirement to activate a body‑worn camera. Requires a law enforcement officer to sign a waiver consenting to be recorded by a body‑worn camera and an acknowledgment of the requirements of the statute. Allows a recording captured by a body‑worn camera to be used as evidence in any relevant administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding. Allows a law enforcement agency to disclose or provide a copy of any recording captured by a body‑worn camera to any person requesting the information in writing. Allows any person who is denied access to a recording to apply to the appropriate division of the General Court of Justice for an order compelling disclosure or copying. Requires a law enforcement agency to keep an original, unredacted recording captured by a body‑worn camera for the later of (1) 60 days from the date of the recording; (2) the period specified in a court order; or (3) 10 days from the date an administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding in which the recording was used as evidence concludes.
Provides that if a law enforcement vehicle is equipped with a dashboard camera, it must be activated during a traffic stop, vehicle pursuit, vehicle search, or other interaction with the public that is within the range of the camera. Requires a law enforcement officer to inform the person the law enforcement officer is interacting with that the interaction is being recorded. Prohibits deactivating a dashboard camera until (1) the conclusion of the traffic stop, vehicle pursuit, vehicle search, or other interaction with the public; (2) the law enforcement officer has left the scene; (3) a supervisor, while being recorded, authorizes the law enforcement officer to deactivate the dashboard camera; or (4) an exception listed in subsection (b) of this section authorizes deactivation. Sets out exceptions to the requirement to activate a dashboard camera.
The above provisions are effective January 1, 2016, for members and officers of the State Highway Patrol and county law enforcement officers and effective January 1, 2017, for the remaining law enforcement officers subject to this act.
Appropriates from the General Fund to the Governor's Crime Commission within the Department of Public Safety $5,000,000 in nonrecurring funds for the 2015‑16 fiscal year and $5,000,000 in nonrecurring funds for the 2016‑17 fiscal year to provide grants to law enforcement agencies for the purposes of purchasing and maintaining body‑worn cameras. Requires grants to be matched on the basis of $1 in grant funds for every $5 in nongrant funds. Limits individual grant amounts to $100,000. Requires the Governor's Crime Commission to develop guidelines and procedures for the administration and distribution of grants. Effective July 1, 2015.