WASHINGTON - The push to get police body cameras in D.C. may be closer to happening. FOX 5 has learned about a compromise bill that could have the cameras on the streets soon.
The main sticking point in the past about these body cameras was public access and the protection of privacy rights.
Funding for these cameras was set aside eight months ago, but there have been so many disagreements that the program has been stalled.
The bill will be introduced Thursday and it appears leaders could agree on this one.
There are many details to the bill, but the key points include:
- It will make most video available through the Freedom of Information Act. That is a big change for those wanting more public access.
- It will protect privacy by not allowing video to be released that is taken inside private homes. No sexual assaults or domestic violence incidents would be released as well. But assaults in public spaces will be open to public request.
- It will cut down the time on fulfilling public request for video from 45 days to 25 days.
Ward 5 D.C. Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie said he has never worked so hard to come up with a compromise on an issue.
“From the very beginning, we’ve tried to strike that balance between government transparency and accountability and protecting people’s privacy rights,” he said. “I think that where we have arrived at, it does all of those things, and this is going to be a win for every resident and visitor to the District of Columbia. It’s going to be a win for all of our officers in MPD.”
McDuffie said he has talked with Mayor Muriel Bowser and Police Chief Cathy Lanier about the details of the bill and he believes he will have their support on this compromise bill.
McDuffie said if this bill passes the judiciary committee on Thursday, the full council will vote on it December 1, and then it go to the mayor.
He said the body cameras have been purchased, so he is hoping they will hit the streets very soon.