Body-worn camera system; use by law enforcement. (HB1521)

Introduced By

Del. Joe Lindsey (D-Norfolk)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Use of body-worn camera system by law enforcement. Provides that any sheriff who is the chief law-enforcement officer of his locality and employs 100 or more deputies, any police force that employs 100 or more officers, and the Superintendent of State Police shall, no later than January 1, 2018, implement and operate a body-worn camera system, which is defined in the bill as an electronic system for creating, generating, sending, receiving, storing, displaying, and processing audiovisual recordings, including cameras or other devices capable of creating such recordings, that may be worn about the person of a law-enforcement officer. Such a system must comply with the model policy or guideline that will be established by the Department of Criminal Justice Services. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/06/2015Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/14/15 15102428D
01/06/2015Referred to Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety
01/15/2015Assigned MPPS sub: Subcommittee #2
01/22/2015Subcommittee recommends laying on the table
02/10/2015Left in Militia, Police and Public Safety


Tess Ailshire writes:

Another related bill, which as of this writing may not have a number assigned, is the Peterson bill that will restrict police departments from keeping data from license-plate readers (LPR) for more than 7 days (IMHO, that should be 72 hours, but ...).

Officers who wear body cameras could easily get around the prohibition on keeping LPR data by simply recording the registration plates with cameras.

ACLU-VA Privacy Rights, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

Police body cameras have the potential to be a win-win, helping protect the public against police misconduct, and at the same time helping protect police against false accusations of abuse. But, while body cams have the potential to become a positive accountability mechanism, the ACLU of Virginia urges the General Assembly to ensure that the following policies are in place before these body cameras are purchased and deployed:
o Police wearing body cams should be required to inform people with whom they are interacting that they are being recorded, especially when entering a home, office, or other private space. And, residents should be able to request that the body camera be turned off when entering their home, unless it is an emergency situation or the officer has a warrant;
o The policy should be clear about when the body cams are to be turned on and off, and individual officers must not have discretion to turn them on and off at will;
o The policy should be clear about what happens to the video from the body cams, where it is stored, how long it is stored, and who has access to it (including ensuring consent from the individual(s) filmed before the content is made public and access to the video by the person filmed); and
o The law enforcement agency and public officials and citizens outside the agency should review the videos on an ongoing basis to determine whether the videos provide information that suggests that police are acting inappropriately or exhibiting bias. Action should be taken to address issues where they are identified, subject to proper procedural protections for the officers involved.
With these policies in place, police body cams can help (re)build trust between law enforcement and the community, reduce police liability, and provide the public with a tool to assure accountability.

robert legge writes:

Thank you ACLU.