Measure allowing Pa. police to use ‘wearable cameras’ advances

    A change in Pennsylvania’s wiretap law allowing police to wear video cameras has advanced in the Legislature.

    Following approval of the Senate Wednesday, the bill now heads to the House for consideration.

    The cameras hold police accountable, supporters say, and can also deter complaints against an officer’s behavior.

    But Pennsylvania American Civil Liberties Union spokesman Andy Hoover said the legislation should require police officers to have the cameras rolling no matter what, so there’s no “creative editing.”

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    “This is not a hypothetical, this has happened in other cities, where cameras are in use and there’s dispute about the arrest and the use of force and the cameras were shut off at certain times during the incident,” Hoover said. “This happened in Seattle and in Oakland, at least, and there’s probably in other cities as well.”

    State law now permits police to have cameras mounted only on their vehicle.

    The proposal would allow them to be on the police officer’s person, as well as a bike, motorcycle or horse.

    The issue was prompted when the police department of Pittsburgh spent more than $100,000 on “wearable cameras” before realizing they are illegal.

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