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Gov. Kasich Signs Police Body Camera Bill Into Law

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Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther is praising Goveror Kasich for signing off on a bill to stipulate when police body camera footage becomes public record.

Kasich signed the bill on Monday, nearly two weeks after it cleared the Ohio House and Senate unanimously.

The new law states body camera video is public record unless it is a confidential investigatory record, which means video was taken within a private home or business, or includes a sex crime victim.

“This bipartisan approach was crafted with input from a broad range of interests, including faith leaders, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Columbus City Attorney’s Office, police officers, technology experts, criminal defense attorneys, the Ohio Newspaper Association, law professors, the American Civil Liberties Union, and County Prosecutor’s Offices,” Ginther said in an emailed statement on Monday.

Ohio News Media Association president Dennis Hetzel recently told WOSU that it strikes the balance between transparency and privacy.

“What some other states have done that we've really been quite opposed to would be basically making them open only at the discretion of law enforcement,” Hetzel said. “That's not gonna preserve transparency and accountability, no matter how well-intentioned the authorities may be.”

The new law does not require police agencies to use body cameras, and does not specify when body cameras must be activated.