LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Transparency took a hit in the Indiana House this week. House representatives passed Bill 1019 that changed the rules about who has access to police body cam and dash cam video.
Until now, hundreds of hours of footage of officer interactions with citizens during routine runs, traffic stops, investigations, and emergency calls have been available publicly. The footage protects police officers from wrongful citizen complaints and protects citizens from unjust treatment by officers.
The new rules would make the video available only if law enforcement agencies choose to release it, putting the public and the media at the mercy of what law enforcement agencies want to be seen.
If Indiana law enforcement withholds video, anyone who wants to see it will have to sue and prove it's in the public interest to release the video.
Freedom of information and transparency from public officials must be the norm. If anyone must go to court over body cam video, it should be law enforcement agencies. They should convince a judge why any piece of video should be withheld - not the public.
These body cameras are taxpayer funded and the video should be treated as public record. Keeping body cam video under wraps is a whole new level of government secrecy.
Indiana state senators need to take a closer look at the ramifications of the legislation their counterparts passed and not do the same.