Pa. police get new law, grant to expand use of body cameras

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation Friday to expand the use of police body cameras.

The Democratic governor also announced Pennsylvania State Police has been awarded a $52,000 federal grant to help fund a body camera pilot program.

The legislation, Senate Bill 560, clears a legal hurdle that allowed police officers to record video but not audio inside a home, and it eliminates a Wiretap Act requirement that officers announce to everyone in a public space that they are being recorded.

The new law also exempts all audio and video recordings by officers from requests under Pennsylvania’s open-records law, including from body cameras and dashboard cameras. Courts could still order the release of a police recording.

The grant allows for the purchase of approximately 30 cameras.

“I’m pleased that the Pennsylvania State Police is set to begin a pilot program because we know that body-worn cameras strengthen police accountability, prevent confrontational situations, and improve evidence documentation,” Wolf said in a statement.

State Police Commissioner Tyree C. Blocker said the grant and Senate Bill 560 are “important first steps” toward the statewide rollout of body-worn camera technology for troopers across Pennsylvania.

“The department is committed to effective use of technology that will benefit not only troopers but also the people we serve,” he said.

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