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Law Enforcement Looks To Indiana Legislature For Body Cam Guidance

Barbara Harrington
Indiana Public Broadcasting

Communities and law enforcement agencies across Indiana are looking to the General Assembly for guidance on police body camera policies.

West Lafayette’s police force has been using body cameras for about a year.  Chief Jason Dombkowski says he used resources from, among others, the Department of Justice and the International Association of Chiefs of Police when developing a policy for those body cams.  But he says, particularly on privacy concerns and redacting video, he’d like guidance from the legislature:

“You have interviews of victims and you have a public records request for that," he says.  "There’s a balance that needs to be struck there.”

But Steuben County Sheriff Tim Troyer told a panel of lawmakers studying body cams that he opposes them altogether.  Troyer says just the presence of the body cams creates what he calls “fear in our citizens:”

“They’re less apt to talk to that deputy about that incident in their neighborhood if they believe that that recording is going to somehow make its way to an unprotected environment or in the hands of other people,” he says.

A study committee could have a recommendation in the coming weeks for a body camera policy the General Assembly can debate next session.  

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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