11/28/17 – State Representative Mark Born says legislation being considered that limits the public release of police body camera footage balances the safety needs of both the public and law enforcement. The bill was proposed by Kewaskum Republican Jesse Kremer and was approved in the Assembly earlier this month. The only footage that could be made public are in cases of deaths, injuries, arrests, and searches — and bystanders in those videos and owners of the buildings shown would have to sign forms approving their public release.
Born told us on WBEVs Community Comment that the limits are reasonable because people have certain expectations of privacy. The Beaver Dam Republican says this is something that needs to be done because of the technology that is available now with body cameras. He says body cameras are important for public safety but it is important to understand that with body cameras running all the time, they are capturing a lot of things that were never meant to be public. If police enter a private home and their camera captures a toddler wearing diapers, Born contends that that is not something that is directly related to the reason police are there to begin with. He says the cameras should not be allowed to violate the constitutional protections of incidental witnesses in private situations.
Democrats are highly critical of the limits saying that they skirt open records laws, limit police oversight and make it too hard for taxpayers to see the body camera footage they pay for. Born says he feels the bill strikes the right balance but says if more is learned down the road as more departments start using cameras, then the bill is certainly something that can be tweaked. The body camera legislation made its way through the Assembly but its fate in the state Senate is unclear at this time.