OLR Bill Analysis

SB 245

AN ACT CONCERNING THE RECORDING OF POLICE ACTIVITY BY THE PUBLIC.

SUMMARY:

This bill makes peace officers potentially liable for damages for interfering with a person taking a photograph, digital still, or video image of either the officer or a colleague performing his or her job duties. Under the bill, officers cannot be found liable if they reasonably believed that the interference was necessary to (1) lawfully enforce a criminal law or municipal ordinance; (2) protect public safety; (3) preserve the integrity of a crime scene or criminal investigation; (4) safeguard the privacy of a crime victim or other person; or (5) enforce Judicial Branch rules and policies that limit taking photographs, videotaping, or otherwise recording images in branch facilities.

Officers found liable of this offense are entitled, under existing law, to indemnification (repayment) from their state or municipal employer if they were acting within their scope of authority and the conduct was not willful, wanton, or reckless.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

BACKGROUND

Peace Officers

Under state law, “peace officer” means a member of the Division of State Police or organized local police department; chief inspector or inspector in the Criminal Justice Division; state or judicial marshal exercising legal authority; conservation or special conservation officer; constable who performs criminal law enforcement duties; special policeman, with some limitations; adult probation officer; Department of Correction (DOC) official authorized to make arrests in DOC facilities; Treasurer's Office investigator; or federal special agent authorized to enforce federal drug statutes (CGS 53a-3).

Related Bill

HB 5345 (File 145) gives sworn U. S. Secret Service special agents and officers certain powers and protections reserved for peace officers and other specified law enforcement officers with respect to the use of force and deadly physical force.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

31

Nay

12

(03/21/2012)