ARIZONA NEWS

Former Arizona DPS boss would prefer transparency in body-cam legislation

Apr 14, 2021, 11:18 AM | Updated: Apr 15, 2021, 8:01 am
(AP Photo, File)...
(AP Photo, File)
(AP Photo, File)

PHOENIX – A former director of Arizona’s state law enforcement agency said withholding trooper body-cam footage from the public in certain circumstances, under a proposed bill, could hurt transparency efforts.

An amendment to legislation that would supply Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers with body-worn cameras prohibits the agency from releasing video to the public unless it involved a criminal act.

“I’m not sure what the message behind that is,” Frank Milstead, who led DPS for five years, said Wednesday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman David Gowan said Tuesday he added the amendment to protect people’s privacy, referring to it as a “civil liberties situation.”

Milstead, who retired in 2020, has long supported body cameras and said not disclosing that kind of footage could have a negative impact on the public’s trust of the department.

“There’s definitely some issues with that idea.”

HB 2461 would put $1.5 million a year into the body-cam program for the next five years.

Gowan, a Republican who represents Cochise and Greenlee counties and parts of Pima and Graham counties, said footage wouldn’t be deleted until cases were resolved. He also said videos would be available to courts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Former Arizona DPS boss would prefer transparency in body-cam legislation