State attorney general clears the way for police officers to wear body cameras

SEATTLE -- In the aftermath of the deadly shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., many are calling for body cameras on officers.  They argue that video recordings of these controversial encounters will give a truer picture of what happens.

But not everyone agrees that cop cameras are a good idea.  Some privacy advocates say the rights of citizens will be violated if officers are allowed to record all their interactions with the public.

On Monday, state ttorney General Bob Ferguson made it very clear that all communications between the cops and the public is fair game for recording.  Moreover, officers don’t even need to get permission beforehand.

“Our state Supreme Court has held that conversations between a police officer and a member of the public that occurs in the performance of the officers duties is not private,” Ferguson said.  “The privacy act does not require consent to record such conversations.”

The biggest fear of those who hate cop cams is the scenario when a cop enters someone’s home.  They argue that those interactions, especially, should not be recorded since they often involve extremely personal situations.

Ferguson did say that the state Legislature can change the law and require consent if lawmakers don’t like the current situation.

A handful of Washington police department use body cameras, including Bellingham, Bremerton, and Pullman.  Seattle is expected to roll out a pilot program of 12 body cams sometime next year.