CPOA Expresses Concerns Over Surveillance Policy Release Bill

By Shaun Rundle, Deputy Director.

Heard in Senate Public Safety this week was SB 1186 (Hill-D), a bill that would place mandates on local agencies get governing body approval in an open public meeting for their technology uses. The bill is a re-introduction of SB 21, a failed 2017 measure that Senator Hill attempted to push through the Legislature. On the afternoon of CPOA’s Law Enforcement Lobby Day, several association members met with Senator Hill to relay the concerns we had over SB 21, which continue into SB 1186 this year.

At is core, SB 1186:

  • Requires, beginning July 1, 2019, that each law enforcement agency submit to its governing body at a regularly scheduled hearing, open to the public, a proposed Surveillance Use Policy for the use of each type of surveillance technology and the information collected.


  • Requires law enforcement agencies to cease using the surveillance technology within 30 days if the proposed plan is not adopted.


  • Requires law enforcement agencies to submit an amendment to the surveillance plan, pursuant to the same open meeting requirements, for each new type of surveillance technology sought to be used.


  • Requires the policy and any amendments to be posted on the agency’s website.


  • Requires agencies to make specified reports, at approved intervals, concerning the use of surveillance technology, and to make those reports available on the agency’s website.


  • Prohibits a law enforcement agency from selling, sharing, or transferring information gathered by surveillance technology, except to another law enforcement agency, as permitted by law and the terms of the Surveillance Use Policy.


  • Would provide that any person could bring an action for injunctive relief to prevent a violation of these provisions and, if successful, could recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.


  • Requires an agency to discipline an employee who knowingly or intentionally uses surveillance technology in violation of these provisions, as specified.


  • Authorizes an agency to temporarily use surveillance technology during exigent circumstances without meeting the requirements of these provisions, provided that, among other things, the agency submits a specified report to its governing body within 45 days of the end of the exigent circumstances.


CPOA voiced our opposition to the bill at its hearing in Senate Public Safety on April 3rd. We conveyed to the committee the concerns we earlier relayed to Senator Hill at Lobby Day that the bill would make it harder for agencies to acquire new technology, and that releasing such information at a public meeting invites the criminal element into these community meetings to understand and evade capture by knowing how the technology is used.

The bill passed the Public Safety Committee, and will next be heard in Senate Judiciary Committee.