Terry Mutchler discusses transparency issues with footage from taxpayer-paid police video

January 09, 2024

Terry Mutchler, Chair of Obermayer’s Transparency & Public Data Practice, discusses the challenges of public access to taxpayer-paid police video in an interview with CBS News Pittsburgh on December 28, 2023.  Although taxpayers are paying hundreds of millions of dollars for dash cams and body cameras for local police officers, the public rarely gets to see the video.

“Let me be as plain as I can. Act 22 is a mess,” says Terry Mutchler, who was the first director of Pennsylvania’s Open Records Office.

Terry shared that the law creates roadblocks to easy access to what should often, but not always, be made public, making it more difficult to see a public video record than a public document.  

“There’s a fee to even start the process. It’s over $100 to get in the game as opposed to a public record under the public right-to-know law, which is free to citizens,” says Mutchler.