Body-Worn Cameras, Forensic Evidence and the Right to Know
- 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM
- Power Center Ballroom
Nationwide, a growing number of law enforcement agencies are adopting body-worn cameras (BWCs) to document interactions during police-suspect encounters, at crime and incident scenes, and during traffic stops. In many instances, agencies have found BWCs useful in the favorable resolution of both administrative and criminal complaints and as a defense resource in cases of civil liability. Citizens have found similar value in criminal and civil claims of excessive force. BWCs provide a clearly documented, firsthand, objective account of what was said and what occurred during the incident in question, and can provide investigators, prosecutors and juries with far more detailed, accurate and compelling evidence. Experience has also shown that BWCs have a positive influence on the behavior of officers themselves and the citizens they encounter, by promoting accountability and serving as an important training aid. Most of all, BWCs can be said to help restore and sustain public confidence in our criminal justice system.
Despite these attributes, of the 150 BWC bills introduced nationwide in 2015, only 20 were passed and several are under siege. BWC legislation is complicated. From operating procedures to wiretap violations to privacy and "Right to Know" considerations, Pennsylvania has endeavored to address these complications in a bill now pending in the state legislature - PA SB 976. This seminar will provide a "real-time" report on how this bill, a high priority for the 2017 legislative session, addresses these issues, as well as how Pittsburgh and Allegheny County have shaped its policy.
Please join Erik Arneson, executive director of the Office of Open Records; Commander Clarence Trapp, head of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Department's Special Deployment Division; and Duquesne University School of Law Professor John Rago, one of the principal drafters of PA SB 976, for this timely and important educational event.
This program is approved by the Pennsylvania CLE Board for 3 hours of substantive CLE credit, either ONSITE and ONLINE.