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Balancing Usage Rights Of Police Body Cam Footage

Jay Hanselman/WVXU
The TASER Axon Body 2 camera.

As more police departments implement body cameras there are new questions about whether the footage is public record and how best to ensure transparency and accountability while protecting crime victims.

The Cincinnati Police Department rolled out its body camera program in 2016. The Norwood Police Department has been using the cameras since early 2015.

A new bi-partisan bill in Ohio would set limitations. According to Ohio Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, and Rep. Hearcel Craig, D-Columbus, most body-worn camera footage would be public record with a few exceptions. If the footage is a confidential investigatory record, video within a private home, video within a private business, or video of a sex crime victim it would not be released.

Here to discuss police body cameras and the proposed legislation are Cincinnati Police Department Special Projects Coordinator Kristen Cosgrove; Norwood Police Department Public Information Officer Lieutenant Ronald Murphy; Cincinnati Enquirer Government reporter Jessie Balmert; and Jack Greiner, attorney with the Graydon law firm.

Note: Jack Greiner represents Cincinnati Public Radio and other local news organizations in First Amendment issues.