With Governor Mary Fallin’s signature, a bill subjecting all law enforcement dash cam videos to the Open Records Act has become law. Previously, a statutory loophole exempted all Oklahoma Highway Patrol videos. The authors of HB 2676 were Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Ken Walker, R-Tulsa. The measure received overwhelming approval in both chambers, passing 38-4 in the Senate and 76-6 in the House.
“This is an important transparency measure, and I applaud the Governor for signing it,” Holt said. “I also want to commend the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for supporting the bill and demonstrating their commitment to transparency. Law enforcement has tremendous authority over the rest of us—they can take away our liberty. I believe these recordings will show that overwhelmingly, they are doing their job as they should, but if they are not, the public has a right to know.”
The legislation has exceptions that will apply uniformly for all law enforcement. Portions of the videos may be redacted or obscured if they show nudity, minors under 16, fatalities and dead bodies, or officers under investigation. At the conclusion of the investigation, the unedited video must be made available. Provisions were also made in the bill to keep the investigation exception from being abused.
HB 2676 takes effect November 1.