Recent Texas Attorney General Opinions of Interest to Cities

Note:  Included opinions are from March 11, 2018 through April 10, 2018.

Opinion No. KP-0186 (Body-Worn Cameras): Pursuant to Section 552.108(a)(l) of the Government Code, upon receiving authorization from the attorney general, a law enforcement agency may withhold the recording of a body worn camera if releasing it to a member of the public would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of a crime. The exception to disclosure under Section 552.108 is discretionary, and a law enforcement agency may release information recorded by a body worn camera to a member of the public after the agency redacts any information made confidential by law.

With narrow exceptions, Section 58.008 of the Family Code prohibits a law enforcement agency from releasing to a member of the public a body worn camera recording that could be used as evidence in a juvenile court proceeding or depicts or otherwise relates to a child in a manner that would restrict access to the recording.

A municipal law enforcement agency may not withhold from a member of the municipal governing body a recording from a body worn camera when the request is made in the member’s official capacity. Whether civilian employees may access the recordings will depend on the authority given those employees by the municipal governing body and the internal policies and procedures of the municipality.

Opinion No. KP-0185 (Body-Worn Cameras): Subsection 1701.655(b)(5) of the Occupations Code requires a law enforcement agency that receives a grant for a body-worn-camera program or otherwise operates a body-worn-camera program to adopt a policy that entitles a peace officer to choose which recording or recordings of an incident involving the officer to access before the officer is required to make a statement about the incident.