Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: November 30, 2009
Sen. Jim Wilson
Wilson Files Dash Cam Open Records Bill
State Sen. Jim
Wilson has filed legislation to amend the Oklahoma Open Records
Act to allow audio or video recordings of the Department of Public
Safety be made public. Wilson believes, following controversial
incidents in the state involving the suggestion of officers abusing
their power, that the media should have access to the videos.
“Our public safety officers are public servants who work
at the will of the public, so why shouldn’t the public have
access to video of them doing their jobs? It seems to me that releasing
these digital records will help dispel the suspicion that they have
something to hide. Their job is to serve, protect and uphold the
law,” said Wilson, D-Tahlequah. “Unfortunately, we’ve
had incidents where officers have abused their power while on duty.
There have also been instances where the media has exaggerated or
provided inaccurate information about a case because they didn’t
have the video and, therefore, didn’t have all the facts.”
Currently, certain items are not included under the definition
of “record” under the Open Records Act including among
others computer software, nongovernment personal effects, personal
financial information, credit reports, any digital audio/video recordings
of toll collections and audio or video recordings of the Department
of Public Safety. Senate Bill 1252 would allow DPS audio and video
recordings to be made public.
Wilson pointed to the May 24 altercation between Oklahoma Highway
Patrolman Daniel Martin and Paramedic Maurice White as one example
of why the media and public should have access to officers’
dash cam videos. This was followed by an investigation of another
incident involving the same officer some months later for which
the video was not readily released.
“Transparency in government offers the public performance
measures and accountability which can be monitored and reported
by the media” said Wilson.
For more information contact:
Sen. Wilson: 405-521-5574