On March 3, 2015, the Assembly Committee on Public Safety held a hearing titled “Law Enforcement Use of Body Cameras: Policies and Pitfalls”, on a variety of issues relating to Police Use of Body Worn Cameras and proposed legislation.
Two prominent advocates for the rights of public safety officers testified before the Committee, David Mastagni, Managing Partner of Mastagni Holstedt, APC, and Edward Fishman, the Legal Administrator of the PORAC Legal Defense Fund.
Mastagni’s testimony provided insight into the collateral impacts of the Body Camera footage in a variety of litigation contexts. Fishman testified regarding the balancing transparency and privacy, and the need for local control over the specifics of each Department’s camera policy.
Both Fishman and Mastagni expressed support on behalf of law enforcement for responsible use of body worn cameras, which must include policies protecting the rights of victims, witnesses, officers and the public. Both witnesses pointed out the need to protect against mass disclosure of sensitive recordings and protecting the privacy rights of victims and witnesses.
PORAC is supporting important legislation providing a balanced framework for implementation of body worn camera policies and protecting against unwarranted disclosures.