ROGERS (KFSM) -- A proposed bill would prevent dash cam or body camera footage from being released to the public using a Freedom of Information Act request while an investigation is open.
"Why would we turn around and restrict access to that information?" Rogers criminal defense attorney Tony Pirani said about House Bill 1248. "That is the very reason that we have the use of body cams, so there can be that accountability, which protects not just the public, but law enforcement itself.
The bill's author, Jeff Williams, R-Springdale, said he is not interested in restricting public access. Instead he hopes the bill will create a definitive answer as to when that kind of video footage will be available.
"All we're doing with this legislation is that we're identifying some areas within the FOIA laws that gave a little bit too much of a grey area as to whether that information was available," Williams said.
With plans to implement body cams in parts of Northwest Arkansas, Williams said this legislation allows FOIA and the active investigation laws to work together.
"You will still have just the same amount of access, law enforcement will still have the exact same amount of access," he said. "It doesn't change any of that, all it does is clarifies the law, so that everybody understands when the video for that dash board and body cam video is available."