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Ordinance Making Police Body Worn and Vehicle Camera Footage Public Records
with Provisions to Redact or Withhold For a Compelling Reason
1. Purpose.
a) The purpose of this Ordinance is to bring Greensboro City policy with regard to
Greensboro police body worn and vehicle camera footage (hereafter police camera
footage) into compliance: (1) with fundamental principles of open government, good
government, and public access to the information necessary to exercise their
responsibility as self-governing citizens able to hold government accountable for equal
protection under the law; (2) with 2013 City Council Resolution authorizing use of body
camera by Greensboro police so as to enhance public legitimacy and transparency;
and, (3) with the demands of current law for accessibility to public records and, where
required, confidentiality.
b) Police camera footage will serve to support the majority of police officers who
perform their duties with professionalism. It will also help to expose police misconduct
when it occurs, allowing for corrective measures to be taken in a transparent way that
will inspire public confidence. Designation of police camera footage as public records,
with reasonable exceptions required by law as delineated below, is vital to determination
of truth and justice for all.
2. Status of Police Camera Footage.
a) Because police camera footage is made or received in connection with the
transaction of public business, upon the taking or initiation of police camera footage
of any kind the footage, in whatever form taken or stored, such footage shall be
labeled a public record.

b) Police camera footage may be made a part of a police officers personnel file or
disciplinary file but placement in the personnel file or disciplinary file does not remove
or limit the status of the footage as being a public record.
3. Access by the Public to Police Camera Footage
a) Anyone wishing to view and/or obtain a copy of police camera footage may make a
written or oral request to the Chief of Police, or her/his designee, providing details
sufficient to identify the footage requested.

b) The Chief of Police, or his/her designee, shall make the requested footage available
for viewing and/or provide a copy of the footage subject to the provisions, limitations
4. Limitations on Public Access Based Upon Compelling Reason.
a) Certain specific situations may justify exceptions to the general rule of public access
to police camera footage. Those exceptions fall into three categories:
1) Release of the footage would prevent or seriously obstruct a criminal
investigation or the gathering of criminal intelligence information;
2) Release of the footage would violate important and compelling privacy rights
of any individual depicted in the footage, as determined by city council;
3) Release of the footage would jeopardize the right of the State to prosecute a
defendant or the right of a defendant to receive a fair trial or will
undermine an

ongoing or future investigation.

b) Unless falling within the meaning of any of the three exceptions listed in 4. a) above,
the assertion by anyone, including the officer recording the camera footage, that footage
should be withheld or redacted because it is part of a personnel record is invalid and
does not alter the status of footage as being a public record available to the people.

5. Process to Restrict or Withhold Footage from Public Access

The Chief of Police, or his/her designee, may submit a petition to City Council, or its
designee, in writing within 15 days of the request to view or copy footage seeking to
invoke any of the three exceptions listed above. The petition must provide facts
attested by affidavit purporting to demonstrate that at least one of the three exceptions
is applicable.
6. Criteria for Determination of Whether to Limit Public Access to Footage.
a) City Council shall schedule the petition as an agenda item at its next scheduled
Council Meeting, or as soon thereafter as possible, and determine whether the
petition provides a legitimate compelling reason to allow one of the exceptions above
and thus restrict public access to that specific footage.

b) Any decision to limit full public access shall require a two-thirds vote of council.

c) Any decision to limit public access shall be the most narrow restriction necessary to
accommodate the compelling interest asserted in the petition. Redactions are
preferred in lieu of withholding the total footage from public access.

d) Requests for public access to footage, any petition seeking restrictions on public
access, the meeting, the decision by City Council and how members vote shall be
considered public records.
7. Judicial Remedies Preserved

Nothing herein shall prevent any one affected by these actions from seeking judicial
remedies provided by law.

Developed 07/14/2016