Camera procedures required for law enforcement

Law enforcement agencies using body-worn cameras will have to document usage procedures under a bill passed by the Legislature April 7.

LB1000, introduced by Omaha Sen. Heath Mello, requires all law enforcement agencies to document in writing the procedures to be followed by officers wearing cameras by Jan. 1, 2017.

The Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice will develop a model policy for body-worn camera usage. An individual agency using body-worn cameras can either develop its own policy or adopt the commission’s model policy.

Agencies choosing to develop individualized policies must include the minimum standards set forth by the commission, including:
• proper training for officers using cameras or accessing video and audio captured by the cameras;
• retention of recordings captured for at least 90 days from the date of such recording; and
• procedures governing the destruction of such recordings after the retention requirement has been met.

If video is determined to have evidentiary value in a criminal, civil or internal disciplinary proceeding, it must be retained until a final determination is reached. If an arrest or prosecution is not made, the video will be retained until a final determination is made or an investigation is officially closed or suspended.

The bill also incorporates provisions of two additional bills.

LB846, originally introduced by Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, requires each law enforcement agency in Nebraska to adopt a written policy on eyewitness suspect identification and provide a copy to the commission. Each policy must include standards for administration of a lineup, instructions given to an eyewitness and documentation of an eyewitness’ level of certainty of identification.

LB1055, originally introduced by Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers, requires that the transcript, report of the proceedings and statement of no indictment associated with grand jury proceedings be made available for public review in cases involving death of a person while in law enforcement custody or detention.

The bill passed on a 45-0 vote.

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