SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 17, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski has signed an executive order stating that body camera footage of officer-involved critical incidents will be released within 10 business days of the recorded event.
In a statement issued Tuesday by the mayor’s office, Biskupski said that barring any unusual or unforeseen circumstances in individual cases, that will be the new protocol for body-worn cameras (BWC) regarding officer-involved critical incidents (OICI).
“The recordings may be subject to redaction or segregation of private, controlled or protected images or sound which identify potential witnesses or minors,” the statement says.
Other “stakeholders,” including Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, were given the opportunity to comment on a draft policy released in January, the statement said.
Biskupski said the new policy is aimed at increasing transparency.
“Government should always strive to be responsive to the needs of residents and adopt policies and laws which are reflective of community standards,” she said in the prepared statement. “More and more video recordings are becoming part of the national narrative on police-community relations. By having a policy in place, which favors transparency, we can help eliminate unwarranted suspicion toward our law enforcement and investigative agencies, while we continue important dialogue.”
Gill said his office could work within the parameters set by the new policy.
“The SLCO DA’s office is pleased that Mayor Biskupski worked with us to craft a policy that balances the need for transparency and need to protect the integrity of critical investigations that are the concerns of our community,” Gill said.
“We have both shared a concern for preserving the investigative process while creating a workable, transparent policy that recognizes the interests of our citizens. Although there are a wide range of national practices, this policy achieves a well thought and balanced approach for the needs of our community.”
Biskupski said the policy, which goes into effect immediately, strikes a good balance.
“This policy provides time for investigators to protect sensitive evidence, through a court order if necessary, while respecting the intent and spirit of the State’s GRAMA statute,” she said. “It’s fairly clear in the GRAMA statute that public access should weigh heavily in deciding access, especially when public interest is high, as is often the case with these incidents.”