Officials consider bill providing better access to police body cam footage

NOW: Officials consider bill providing better access to police body cam footage

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The public may soon have better access to police body camera footage. 

A bill that would make most police body camera footage available to the public through open records laws was the focus of a public hearing at the Capitol Tuesday. 

The bill does not require police departments to use body cameras, but any departments that do use those devices would have to store all video for at least 120 days. 

Video of deaths, injuries, arrests, searches and use of force would have to stay stored until the investigation or case is completed.

There are some exceptions to some video being available to the public -- that includes video of minors and victims of sensitive or violent crimes. Police departments can decide to release that video if it's in the public interest.

The bill was put together by a joint legislative council tasked with addressing the issue. Members of the council praised the compromise reached by all parties involved in the process. 

"I really do think we got to a good product," said Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison). "Nobody got everything they wanted. I think it's a good bill. I think it's a really solid bill, and it helps our communities give some standard that I think law enforcement was really looking for and our communities are really looking for."

The bill has the support from several organizations, including the Wisconsin Police Chiefs Association. 

The Senate committee that heard testimony Tuesday is expected to vote on the bill in October.

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