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  • Last modified 152 days ago (June 21, 2018)

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Cops want $10,000 to censor body cams

Staff writer

Police are considering buying a computer and software costing nearly $10,000 so they can censor police body cam and dash cam video before releasing it under a new law.

A new law requires police to provide video images to certain people, such as family members of crime victims, within 20 days of an incident.

Hillsboro assistant police chief Jessey Hiebert said police want to be able to blur such things as unclothed people or dead bodies before releasing the videos.

“It would also let us draw a little box to draw attention to something not so noticeable,” Hiebert said.

Marion chief Tyler Mermis said county law enforcement agencies planned to go together to buy the equipment, which they would share.

“When you go to court, there’s probably a lot of things you don’t want children to see,” Mermis said. “It’s going to be a good system, I think.”

Peabody chief Bruce Burke said the system would be useful for masking faces of juveniles, driver’s license numbers, and the like.

Funding has to be secured before such a system can be purchased, Burke said.

County attorney Courtney Boehm, whose office would be one of the agencies sharing the cost, said the new law required disclosure of video footage to legal heirs, parents, and legal guardians upon request.

Although video editing programs are available for much lower cost, not every police agency uses the same brand and type of video recorders, Boehm said. Hillsboro police researched which software would work best for the spectrum of brands used in the county.

Editing can include blurring portions, extracting segments, masking voices, muting segments, and tracking multiple objects, Boehm said.

“It has to be able to do multiple things,” she said.

Commercially available programs like industry-standard Adobe Premiere Pro CC seem to be able to do most of these things at a cost of $20.99 a month as part of a complete suite of software, but police apparently believe it will not handle all of their camera formats.

Boehm said she asked county counselor Brad Jantz to review the agencies’ proposal before moving forward.

“I think there are points of clarification needed,” Boehm said.

Last modified June 21, 2018

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