2020’s Impact on Police Body Cam and Misconduct Records
The 2020 Effect has led state transparency advocates to revisit the public’s ability to access police misconduct records and body cam footage.
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Maryland looks into statewide mandate on police body cameras
Law enforcement agencies in Maryland can establish a body-worn camera program, but are not mandated by the state to do so.
Lawmakers are pushing for a statewide mandate requiring every police department in Maryland to equip officers with body cameras, however the cost for equipment and maintenance of the footage may be the biggest challenge.
“I would be a proponent of a statewide usage of body cameras,” Sen. Charles Sydnor, D-Baltimore County, told Capital News Service. “But the question that the task force is wrestling with is: How do you create an environment where local police departments will be able to do it?”
Read More | The Trumbull Times
Bills to increase Virginia Parole Board transparency refiled ahead of 2021 legislative session
Sens. Mark Obenshain and David Suetterlein prefilled separate bills ahead of the 2021 legislative session that would make the [Virginia Parole] Board’s votes subject to the Freedom of Information Act and require the board to disclose certain information regarding its decisions.
Senate Bill 1104, sponsored by Obenshain, would require the board to include more information when a prisoner is released, including the length of time the person was in prison, the offense committed and the jurisdiction where the offense was committed.
Suetterlein’s Senate Bill 1103 would make the individual votes by parole board members about whether someone receives parole subject to FOIA.
Read More | The Center Square
Are your 2021 priorities aligned with your peers?
Take the 2021 Peers in Public Records Survey to find out
New York Civil Liberties Union sues Rochester Police Department over police misconduct records
The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU0 is suing the Rochester Police Department for what it calls an “unlawful” denial of requests for records related to police misconduct.
The NYCLU says it submitted a Freedom of Information Law request for public records in September, after the repeal of section 50-A of the Civil Rights law. Section 50-A previously shielded police personnel records from falling subject to such requests.
According to the NYCLU, the Rochester Police Department has failed to respond to the request. The NYCLU was asking for “documents related to disciplinary records, use of force, stops, civilian complaints, policies, investigative reports, diversity, trainings, and collective bargaining agreements.”
Read More | Rochesterfirst.com
Judge blasts the Clark County Coroner’s office in Las Vegas for refusing to release autopsy records
A district judge [Jim Crockett] again blasted the Clark County Coroner’s office for withholding records and ordered that juvenile autopsies sought by the Las Vegas Review-Journal be produced by Dec. 30.
Since 2017, the Review-Journal has sought autopsies of juveniles to determine whether child protection workers are adequately protecting children and whether the coroner’s office is properly determining the causes of youth deaths. The Nevada Supreme Court ruled the records are public information but sent it back to Crockett to determine if any private health information should be redacted. Crockett said balancing the interests at the request of the higher court he found no reasonable reason to withhold the documents and ordered they be released by Nov. 30.
The county asked for a delay to appeal the ruling but he denied it Thursday.
Read More | Las Vegas Review-Journal
2021 Peers in Public Records Survey Findings
So far we’ve heard from approximately 260 Public Record Managers on their priorities for the coming year. Here is what we’ve heard this far…
Respondents anticipate improper exemptions or redactions (such as accidental release of PII) and failure to produce requested records within time allowed by law will be the biggest drivers of lawsuits.
Veritone and GovQA Forge Strategic Relationship to Provide AI-Powered End-to-End Compliance Solution
The collaboration, which integrates the aiWARE-powered application Veritone Redact with the GovQA Public Records Management Solution, addresses the challenges faced by agencies, especially those in public safety overwhelmed by video and audio records requests and heightened calls for accountability. This will help agencies expedite requests in accordance with records laws, save taxpayer money and foster greater public trust.
To learn more, watch “How Public Safety Organizations are Actively Addressing the Changing Need for Transparency” moderated by Microsoft, Veritone, and GovQA featuring the public disclosure manager from Clark County, Washington.
Read More | GovQA
The Peers in Public Records Newsletter (formerly FOIA News) is a bi-monthly e-newsletter brought to you by GovQA. It is a collection of the latest trends in public record requests and government transparency initiatives, shared stories, informative case studies, and actionable knowledge that will help you calm the chaos and keep your organization compliant. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.