The General Laws are hereby amended in chapter 6A (2016 official edition) by adding, after section 18C, a new section 18D, as follows:
SECTION 1. The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, in conjunction with the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security, shall, upon passage of this act, establish the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Body Camera Taskforce, as provided herein. The Taskforce shall develop regulations establishing a uniform code for the use of body-worn cameras by Massachusetts law enforcement officers, to provide consistency throughout the Commonwealth. The Taskforce shall adopt minimum requirements for the procurement of, and regulations for the use of, body-worn cameras by law enforcement officers, and for the storage and transfer of audio and video recordings collected through use of this technology.
The Taskforce shall conduct a minimum of five public hearings in various parts of the Commonwealth to hear testimony and comments from the public in the course of preparing these regulations. The Taskforce shall prepare for promulgation regulations for standard protocols and procedures for the use of officer body-worn cameras, to ensure that this technology is used in a manner which furthers law enforcement goals while protecting individual privacy and providing uniformity throughout the Commonwealth.
SECTION 2. Definitions.
As used in this act:
(a)“Biometric Data” means any computerized data relating to the physical, physiological or behavioral characteristics of a natural person, which allow or confirm the unique identification of that natural person, including, but not limited to, such techniques as facial recognition; fingerprints; palm veins; DNA; palm prints; hand geometry; or iris recognition.
(b)“Body-Worn Camera” means a portable electronic recording device worn on a law enforcement officer’s person, which creates, generates, sends, receives, stores, displays, and processes audiovisual recordings, and/or records audio and video data of law enforcement-related encounters and activities.
(c)“Facial Recognition Software” means a category of biometric software that maps an individual’s facial features mathematically and stores the date as a faceprint.
(d)“Law Enforcement Agency” means all agencies in Massachusetts with law enforcement officers, including county sheriff’s departments, municipal, special district, hospital or institution of higher education police departments, which have as a primary mission preventing and detecting crime, assuring public safety and security, and enforcing the penal, criminal, traffic and motor vehicle laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
(e)“Law Enforcement Officer” means any sworn officer employed by a Law Enforcement Agency, as defined herein, to exercise police authority, primarily preventing and detecting crime, assuring public safety and security.
(f)“Law Enforcement-Related Activities” includes, but are not limited to, traffic stops, pedestrian stops, arrests, searches, interrogations, investigations, pursuits, crowd control, traffic control, non-community caretaking interactions with an individual while on patrol, “Law Enforcement-Related Activities” does not include when the officer is completing paperwork alone or only in the presence of one or more other law enforcement officers or civilian law enforcement personnel.
(g)“Recording” means the process of capturing data or information stored on a recording medium.
SECTION 3. Composition of Task Force
(a)The Massachusetts Law Enforcement Body Camera Taskforce shall consist of the following seventeen members:
The Secretary of The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, or designee;
The Secretary of The Executive Office of Technology Services and Security, or designee;
(a)The Chair of the House Committee on Judiciary, or designee;
(b)The Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, or designee;
(c)The Attorney General, or designee;
(d)A representative of the Committee for Public Counsel Services;
(e)The President of the Massachusetts District Attorney Association, or designee;
(f)The President of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police, or designee;
(g)The President of the Massachusetts Fraternal Order of Police, or designee;
(h)A district court judge designated by the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court;
(i)A representative of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, appointed by the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts;
(j)A representative of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People; appointed by the Massachusetts Chapter President;
(k)A representative of the University of Massachusetts Police Department, appointed by the president of the university;
(l)The City of the Boston Police Commissioner, or designee;
(m)The Executive Director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, or designee;
(n)The Superintendent of Massachusetts State Police, or designee;
(o)The Secretary of State of the Commonwealth or designee.
(b)The members of the Taskforce shall elect a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson. A meeting of the taskforce may be called by its chairperson, the vice chairperson or 3 of its members. A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of 7 members. All members of the Taskforce shall serve without compensation. The executive agencies convening the Taskforce shall assign administrative personnel to assist the work of the Taskforce. The Taskforce shall meet at least 12 times during its 18 months of service. In addition to taking public testimony, the Taskforce shall seek the advice of such experts specializing in the fields of criminology, educations, criminal or family law, or other related fields, as deemed appropriate by the membership of the Taskforce. The Taskforce shall consult with legal counsel to determine a retention schedule for recordings which ensures that storage policies and practices are in compliance with all relevant laws and adequately preserve evidentiary chains of custody, and identify potential discovery issues.
Section 4: Duties of Taskforce
Within 18 months of its creation, the Taskforce shall by majority vote adopt recommended regulations and protocols, to be promulgated by the appropriate executive agencies. The regulations promulgated by the Taskforce shall include at the minimum:
(a)standards for the procurement of body-worn cameras and vehicle dashboard cameras by law enforcement agencies including a requirement that such cameras include technology for redacting the images and voices of victims and bystanders, and provide that no technology may be procured which allows for the collection of facial recognition or biometric data; and enter into state procurement contracts through which qualified law enforcement agencies may purchase;
(b)prohibitions regarding the collection or use of facial recognition or other biometric matching software or other technology to analyze recordings obtained through the use of these cameras;
(c)basic standards for training law enforcement officers in the use of these cameras;
(d)specification of which kinds of law enforcement encounters and interactions shall be recorded and what notice, if any, is to be given to those being recorded; when the camera should be activated and when to discontinue recording; require that the camera worn upon a law enforcement officer’s person be set to record continuously, beginning when the officer develops reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that a crime or violation has occurred, is occurring or will occur, and the law enforcement officer begins to make contact with the person suspected of committing the offense; require that the camera be equipped with pre-event recording, capable of recording at least the 30 seconds prior to camera activation; require that the camera cease recording no sooner than the termination of the officers participation in the contact; provisions preventing officer access to or viewing of any recording of an incident involving that officer before the officer is required to make a statement about the incident;
(e)standards for the identification, retention, storage, maintenance and handling of recordings from body cameras, including a requirement that recordings be retained for at least 180 days, but no more than 30 months for a recording not relating to a court proceeding or ongoing criminal investigation, or for the same period of time that evidence is retained in the normal course of the court’s business for a recording related to a court proceeding;
(f)standards pertaining to the recordings of police contacts involving the use of force, detention or arrest, or pertaining to ongoing investigations and prosecutions, to assure that these be retained for a period sufficient to ensure that the needs of all parties with an interest in the recordings are met;
(g)guidelines for the security of facilities in which such recordings are kept;
(h)requirements for state procurement of contracts for body-worn cameras and for data storage, through which qualified law enforcement agencies may purchase goods and services;
(i)best-practice language for contracts with third party vendors for data storage, which shall provide that recordings from such cameras are the property of the law enforcement agency, are not owned by the vendor, and cannot be used by the vendor for any purpose inconsistent with the policies and procedures of the law enforcement agency;
(j)procedures for supervisory internal review and audit;
(k)sanctions for improper use of cameras, including provision that a law enforcement agent not activating a body-worn camera in response to a call for assistance must include that fact in the incident report, and note in the case file or record the reason for not activating the camera; as well as sanctions for tampering with camera or recordings, and for any improper destruction of recordings;
(l)regulations pertaining to handling requests for the release of information recorded by a body-body worn camera to the public;
(m) requirements for reporting by law enforcement agencies utilizing body-worn cameras;
(n)Consultation with legal counsel to: determine a retention schedule to ensure that storage policies and practices are in compliance with all relevant laws ad adequately preserve evidentiary chains of custody; identify potential discovery issues.
SECTION 5. Legislative Recommendations
The Taskforce shall determine if any additional legislation is needed to effectuate its recommended regulations for the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement agencies, and
shall provide a report to the legislature on its work product, setting forth any legislative action recommended by the Taskforce, for consideration by the legislature.
SECTION 6. Scope of Discretion for Additional Policies and Procedures
Any law enforcement agency which makes the decision to adopt the use of body camera technology may establish additional policies and procedures for the use of such devices, and the storage and retention of video and audio recordings made through their operation, provided that such policies and procedures shall be consistent with the regulations adopted by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security, and all applicable statutes.
SECTION 7. Exemption of Body Camera Recordings from the Definition of “Public Record”
The General Laws, in chapter 4, section 7, clause 26, are hereby amended by adding, after subsection (u), the following new subsection: (v) any recordings made by a body camera, dashboard camera, or any similar device by a law enforcement officer.
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