AB 748 - Peace Officers: Video and Audio Recordings: Disclosure became effective on July 1, with a recent modification. Here’s what you need to know:

  • AB 748, amends the California Public Records Act (CPRA) to require agencies to disclose video and audio recordings of “critical incidents.”
  • An audio or video recording relates to a “critical incident,” and therefore is subject to disclosure under this legislation if it depicts: an incident involving the discharge of a firearm at a person by a peace officer or custodial officer, or an incident in which the use of force by a peace officer or custodial officer against a person resulted in death or great bodily injury.
  • Redaction and/or withholding of recordings is permitted to protect specified privacy interests.
  • Disclosure of a record can also be delayed for 45 days up to 1 year (depending on the circumstances) if disclosure would undermine an active criminal or administrative investigation.
  • SB 94 is a budget trailer bill signed by the Governor on June 27. As such, it covers a variety of topics and is effective immediately. SB 94 addresses some ambiguity found in the government code amended by AB 748.
    • Government Code 6254 now allows law enforcement agencies to delay disclosure, even to the individual whose privacy is being protected, when it may undermine an active investigation. Instead the agency is directed to provide the requesting party with the estimated date for the disclosure of the recording.

Law enforcement agencies should evaluate their policies, procedures and practices regarding CPRA requests and work closely with legal counsel to ensure compliance.