People who have had interactions with law enforcement officers in Tennessee may have noticed that the officers were wearing and using body cameras to capture video of their interactions and associated events. Anyone who has been charged with a crime should be aware of the state’s laws surrounding these cameras and the footage captured by them.
The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government reports that a bill has been making its way through the state legislature recently and is attempting to define certain footage that may be required to be kept confidential. This includes any video footage in which minors are involved or viewable as well as footage taken at certain locations including private homes if those homes are not part of an investigation for a specific alleged crime.
According to the Urban Institute, there are also other laws pending regarding the use of video cameras by police. These include the requirement that footage is to be kept and stored permanently if it relates to a complaint against a law enforcement officers or includes evidence for a suspected crime. Other footage would be required to be kept for at least one full week. Another law seeks to ensure that the cameras used have angles wide enough to capture footage of any action by an officer.
It is illegal for officers to record any audio without letting a person know first that such a recording is being made. Also protected by law is the release of oral testimony where a reasonable expectation of privacy may exist.