SALT LAKE CITY — Utah senators voted against a bill that would prohibit officers from turning body cameras off for discussion with supervisors or other officers after force has been used.
The bill received a 12-13 vote on the second reading. The vote split parties with three Senate democrats voting for the bill and three against.
The sponsor of SB160, Sen. Daniel McCay, R-Riverton, said the bill is an effort to find a balance between when the camera should be on and when it should be off, tweaking the body camera legislation passed in 2016. He said turning the camera off after force is used disturbs the record.
Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, said that as a sponsor with McCay on the 2016 bill, they worked hard to come up with a consensus law enforcement and other stakeholders agreed with. He expressed concerns they were not involved in and are not in favor of this amendment.
"I think if this is good policy, it’s good policy even if you sit down and work with your partners," Thatcher said.Comment on this story
Thatcher and others expressed concern that when officers discuss how to proceed after using force it could bring lawsuits against them in court, particularly with new officers and officers in training.
"I do not believe the exemption allowing consultation with a supervisor violates the public trust, I think it allows our officers to do their jobs," Thatcher said.
Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, said he was concerned officers who had been through traumatic events may not feel comfortable talking to their supervisors while in a stressful situation.
McCay said body cameras most often exonerate the officers and the bill would be a move toward government transparency.