SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Salt Lake City Police body camera footage and how it’s used is the center of many high profile cases. City officials wanted more accountability and transparency with the department. With a unanimous vote Tuesday, Salt Lake City Police officers will follow new ordinances involving body camera footage.
“The goal of this is better transparency to make sure that we are using the tool of body cameras as a way to make sure there is transparency in the interactions that police officers have with citizens,” says District 5 City Council Member Darrin Mano.
The Chief of Police will determine when footage release serves “valid law enforcement purposes.”
When asked for clarification on this topic, Councilmember Mano tells ABC4 this is mainly to prevent footage of body camera footage of rescues or positive actions from the police to be used for promotional purposes.
The ordinance clarifies what an Officer Involved Critical Incident or OICI is.
It also specifies all body camera footage in K9’s bites would be treated as an OICI investigation. Those investigations will be mostly conducted within the city but will be decided on a case by case basis.
Officers with body cameras will keep their body cameras on until they return to their vehicles or at the end of an encounter.
Footage of the OICI’s will be shared with Salt Lake City Council members within five days of the incident.
Plus, the mayor will appoint a person who will randomly pull officers body camera footage of everyday events for a monthly audit.
“We want to make sure every interaction with our police officers is positive and that they are following all of the protocols,” says Councilmember Mano.
To make sure all of this gets accomplished, City Council agreed to fund $1.2 million on body-worn cameras and storage needs for police officers.
“The police department, and the city council, and the mayor’s office are all committed to transparency, and that we are committed to making sure that we create and foster a department that keeps the public safe, but makes sure that the interactions with citizens are following policy, following the law — that we do as much as we can to deescalate the situation, and that we do as much as we can to make those interactions positive.”