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H.R. 1680 (114th): Police CAMERA Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 26, 2015.


Police Creating Accountability by Making Effective Recording Available Act of 2015 or the Police CAMERA Act

Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to authorize the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs to make grants to states, local governments, and Indian tribes to purchase or lease body-worn cameras for use by law enforcement officers, and for expenses related to the implementation of a body-worn camera program, in order to deter excessive force, improve accountability and transparency of use of force by law enforcement officers, assist in responding to complaints against officers, and improve evidence collection.

Requires a grantee to: (1) develop, with community input, policies for the safe and effective use of body-worn cameras, for the secure storage, handling, and destruction of data collected, for protecting the privacy rights of any individual who may be recorded, and for the release of any data collected in accordance with the open records laws of the state; and (2) conduct periodic evaluations of the security of the storage and handling of the body-worn camera data.

Requires a grantee to adopt data collection and retention protocols that:

require an officer wearing a camera to provide an explanation if an activity that is required to be recorded is not recorded and to obtain a crime victim's or witness's consent to be recorded before interviewing him or her; minimize the collection of data unrelated to a legitimate law enforcement purpose; require the system used to store collected data to log all viewing, modification, or deletion of such data and to prevent its unauthorized access or disclosure; prohibit any law enforcement officer from accessing the stored data without an authorized purpose; require the law enforcement agency to collect and report data on incidences of use of force, the number of complaints filed against officers, the disposition of such complaints, and the number of times camera footage is used for evidence collection in investigations of crimes; and allow an individual to file a complaint with a law enforcement agency relating to the improper use of such cameras. Allows data collected by a grantee to be used only in internal and external investigations of misconduct by a law enforcement agency or officer, if there is reasonable suspicion that a recording contains evidence of a crime, or for limited training purposes. Prohibits a grantee from transferring any collected data to another law enforcement or intelligence agency, with specified exceptions for investigations of crimes and civil rights violations.

Directs the Assistant Attorney General to study and report to Congress on the efficacy of body-worn cameras.