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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Senate passes body camera law

OLYMPIA -- Cities and towns should be "strongly encouraged", although not required, to authorize the use of body cameras by their law enforcement officers, under a bill that was hotly debated in the Senate Friday.

On a 37-9 vote, the Senate approved limits on who can receive images from those cameras under the state's Public Records Law, trying to thwart requests for all footage from departments across the state, some of which have later shown up on the Internet.

It also allows the agency to withhold recordings that are "highly offensive to a reasonable person". The law lists recordings in a medical facility, of a patient receiving treatment or revealing health care information, the interior of a private residence, a minor, an "intimate image", a minor or the victim of domestic violence or sexual assault.

The bill  would set up a task force to examine the use of body cameras in the state and report to the Legislature in 2017 any recommendations for changes in the law.

The version that passed the Senate contains significant changes from the original bill approved by the House. It now returns to the other chamber to see if the changes will pass there, as well

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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