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Utah lawmakers set guidelines for police use of body cameras

FILE - A body camera lays on a table as West Valley City police officers receive their new cameras Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, and are instructed on their use. HB300 requires police to record incidents from start to finish, with exceptions for consulting wi
FILE - A body camera lays on a table as West Valley City police officers receive their new cameras Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, and are instructed on their use. HB300 requires police to record incidents from start to finish, with exceptions for consulting with a supervisor and talking to a victim or witness.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — State lawmakers passed a bill Thursday setting guidelines for police use of body-worn cameras.

Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, called HB300 a "grand compromise" among police, civil liberties groups, media attorneys and legislators. He said the new law, which still needs the governor's signature, doesn't ask police to do anything they're not already doing.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, requires police to record incidents from start to finish, with exceptions for consulting with a supervisor and talking to a victim or witness. It includes provisions for keeping footage private, such as children in a home or nudity, but leaves other standards to local agencies.

Bountiful Police Chief Tom Ross said the Utah Chiefs of Police Association, which he heads, supports the measure.

Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights, said the Utah Hospital Association has concerns about possible HIPPA violations. Thatcher committed to address those over the summer.

Media attorney Jeff Hunt told a House committee last month that the bill strikes the right balance between accountability and transparency on one hand, and personal privacy and law enforcement interests on the other.

Records under the state Government Records Access and Management Act are presumed to be public unless classified otherwise in state or federal law. Hunt said there are 12 exceptions in the law that could potentially be applied to body-camera footage, including ones for personal privacy and ongoing investigations.

— Dennis Romboy