Police chief: Body cameras could be invasion of privacy - WNEM TV 5

Police chief: Body cameras could be invasion of privacy

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SAGINAW TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

The body camera is supposed to be a tool meant to help tell the whole story if something bad happens.

However, it's a story that often isn't seen by everyone.

"The question becomes when is it the responsibility of the police department, good, bad or otherwise, to release what they have on video," Attorney Phil Ellison said.

Saginaw Township is just one of several communities that use body cameras.

Chief Donald Pussehl said the officers can easily switch the cameras on when arriving at the scene. He said the cameras not only act as back-up for the officers, but also gives the public an extra set of eyes.

"Because it shows exactly, almost exactly what occurred," Pussehl said.

Officers said they're great tools, but they do pose some privacy questions.

Some said the departments often use those privacy concerns and other red tape as reasons for not making critical footage public.

"We need some help with this to be able to establish some clear guidelines as to when these videos should either be kept private or publicly distributed," Ellison said.

Ellison said some departments are able to deny freedom of information act requests because of the lack of direction.

Meanwhile, Pussehl said he would like to have the state give guidance, especially to protect potential victims' privacy that may be caught on camera.

"It is quite an extensive issue that we have to look at and it's not always cut and dry," Pussehl said.

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