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.Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download our News App and our Weather App for your phone and tablet.

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