Police can charge direct cost for a copy of body cam video, but capped at $150

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Send your questions to Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, skey@hspa.com or call (317) 624-4427.

The following questions were submitted by the Evansville Courier & Press,, Bluffton News-Banner, Pilot News (Plymouth), The Press-Dispatch (Petersburg):

Police can charge direct cost for a copy of body cam video, but capped at $150

Q: The newspaper requested body camera footage from a skirmish between police and protesters during a rally in Evansville. The police spokesman said he would provide us the footage. Usually we get it for free, but he said since we were the only news organization asking for it, he would have to charge us this time. I’ve re-read Indiana’s updated body camera law a few times, and I can’t quite discern whether police can charge for body camera footage or not. Can they?

A: Yes, the police can charge you for a copy of the body camera video. They can charge you the direct cost of supplying you with the copy, but there is a cap of $150, but I don’t see how it could reach that cap. [See I.C. 5-14-3-8(g)(1) and direct costs defined at I.C. 5-14-3-2(d)].

County commissioners reason for calling an executive session bears scrutiny

Q: I’m sending you an edited version of a story concerning discussions on how a development involving the city and county should be handled that includes the basis given for the county commissioners to call for an executive session to resolve it (strategy with respect to a property transaction). Does it seem legitimate to you?

A: I didn’t see anything in the story indicating the county commissioners are purchasing or leasing private property or negotiating the sale or lease of county property, so I would question their reason given for an executive session.

E-Tear sheet can be used instead of paper clipping for public notice billing

Q: We currently supply actual clippings as proof of publication for public notices. Do we have an alternative?

A: The state Board of Accounts allows newspapers to attach what we call e-tear sheets, rather than actual clippings from the newspaper for billing purposes to state and local government units. The one requirement is that the electronic version be in the same point size and column width as the public notice was published in the newspaper. This is so they can determine whether the correct line rate was applied in the publisher’s claim form.

Private parties who have placed public notices should also be OK with an e-tear for billing purposes. The only instances where an actual clipping may be required is where proof of publication is needed for presentation to a court.

I would suggest you make it normal procedure to provide an e-tear unless specifically asked for a clipping by the client. You’ll save a lot of effort with the e-tears. But still maintain the ability to provide an actual clipping upon request.

Press can ask to attend executive sessions for interviews, negotiations

Q: This doesn’t seem to meet any of the criteria for an executive session. (“After your regular Council meeting there is an executive meeting scheduled, during the executive session Capital Dynamics/Tenaska will virtually present their abatement request.”) Do you agree?

A: It appears they would use I.C. 5-14-1.5-6.1(b)(4)(H) in the Open Door Law, which would allow for an executive session for “interviews and negotiations with industrial or commercial prospects or agents of industrial or commercial prospects by:

(H) a governing body of a political subdivision.”

This is a discretionary provision, which means you could ask them to allow you or a reporter to attend, even if the public can’t. Nothing to prevent them from allowing select spectators to attend in the public’s interest, but they can say no as they may be afraid to scare off the potential investment into the community.

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