Cities and states across the country are experimenting with the use of police body cameras as a way of holding law enforcement officers accountable and building public trust in government. But proposed and existing body camera policies vary greatly, especially with regard to public accessibility to the recordings themselves. Washington, D.C., itself has wrestled with these issues, as Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposed budget for 2016 included $5 million to be spent on police body cameras but also exempted all recordings from the city’s Freedom of Information Act. The D.C. Council rejected that proposal; now government officials and interested citizens and organizations are trying to balance the need for public access with the privacy implications and financial expense of providing access. This program, presented by the Newseum Institute in cooperation with D.C. Open Government Coalition, will include a discussion of those issues, looking at the national landscape and the specific local proposals.
The discussion will be moderated by Gene Policinski, chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute, and Kevin Goldberg, president, D.C. Open Government Coalition.