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Utah lawmakers put body camera guidelines on hold

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lawmakers voted Monday to put a number of proposed body camera regulations on hold, meaning Utah police officers looking for guidance on when and how to use the cameras will have to wait.

The unanimous vote came during a committee hearing on a bill sponsored by Riverton Republican Rep. Dan McCay. Lawmakers said they wanted to study the issue further before returning for the 2016 legislative session.

McCay said the regulations were meant to balance an expectation of privacy and the new technology available to law enforcement.

Because the cameras are a new tool, there is little in state code to regulate their use, said McCay. His legislation addressed issues like how long body camera videos should be kept and when officers should or should not record. It would also require any police department using the cameras to develop a written policy for their use.

McCay objected to lawmakers' decision to delay his bill.

He said he his bill had already been held back to allow time for more feedback from law enforcement officers. Several officers attended Monday's hearing, and McCay said he had been expecting the committee to consider their feedback and alter his proposal as needed.

Instead, committee chairman Rep. Don Ipson, a St. George Republican, only allowed two members of the public to speak before lawmakers made a decision.

The only law enforcement officer who was able to speak was Scott Carver of the Salt Lake County Sheriff's office.

He said he liked the idea of regulating body cameras, but did not like the current draft of the bill.

"This bill in its current form will actually deter agencies from using body cameras," said Carver, including Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, which does not currently use the technology.

He said McCay's bill "needs a considerable amount of work" and asked lawmakers not to rush it, but did not explain which parts of the bill he opposed.

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