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Where policies are not clear on this issue, we have attempted to fill in some of the gaps with links to reporting.

We expect this information to change for many departments as laws are passed and technical and privacy issues crop up.

In general, Police Commissioner must authorize access in writing.

Data shall not “be used to create a database or pool of mug shots.”Recordings may be viewed, but not copied, by: the media with a court order, or a person submitting a request for a specific recording identified by date, time, or other particularity.

A video that is part of an active investigation is exempt from public records law but the agency can choose to make it public if it is in the public benefit.

A video that is not part of an active investigation is subject to public records requests if it depicts firearm discharge or use of force by an officer resulting in substantial bodily harm; if a subject requests it be public (with non-consenting civilian subjects redacted in any copies); or if it is “public personnel data.” The department may redact video portions that are “clearly offensive to common sensibilities.” Any person may bring action in district court to challenge decision to withhold video.

Storage space for video is very expensive, however, and privacy and security concerns crop up with a large database of videos.

The length of time potential evidence in a court case must be preserved is governed by state law.

Download the PDF here -- recommended for mobile users. Texas law says recording of an incident that “involves deadly force or is otherwise the subject of an investigation” may not be released until the investigation is complete, but other footage is available.Recordings that are criminal intelligence, records of a criminal investigation, evidence, or associated with a personnel investigation may not be viewed.