WASHINGTON - It will not be long until almost every D.C. police officer has a body camera. On Tuesday, the city council unanimously voted to buy and use 2,400 additional police body cameras.
About 400 cameras already are in use today and it has been a source of great debate.
The D.C. Council will need to vote on this legislation once more before it goes to Mayor Muriel Bowser, but she has already said she will sign off on this bill.
There was much debate over this bill in its original form eight months ago. But under this final bill, concessions were made for both sides fighting for public access and those fighting for privacy.
D.C. Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie was able to work out the details of this bill.
“The whole intent behind the body camera program is to enhance transparency, protect the privacy of individuals and also foster better police-community relations in the District of Columbia,” said McDuffie.
“To say that we started this process of trying to get body cameras long before any other city in the United States and we still don't have them, for me, is frustrating,” said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier last week. “But hopefully things are now on the right track and moving, and hopefully we'll be rolling those in the next group of cameras and rolling them out through 2016.”
There are many details to this legislation, but basically the rule is -- if the camera captures something in public, that footage will be available to the public through a public request.
If the camera recording takes place in a private home, that footage is going to be kept private, especially when it comes to sexual assaults and domestic violence.