Every time we cover a violent crime, shooting incident or other dangerous situation involving public safety personnel, we are reminded just how dangerous their jobs really are.

Many times the dangerous situations are caught on camera, and that is good for everyone — both the police and the policed.

Each day, police officers and first responders face dangers that most of us will never will face in our lifetimes.

A routine traffic stop or just showing up at the scene in response to a domestic violence call can turn tragic in an instant.

We should all thank them for their service and respect the jobs they do to help keep us all safe.

We are not saying there are not bad cops.

There are.

And, when bad cops do bad things it reflects poorly on all of them. Every officer and deputy who is doing right things in right ways rightly resents those who are abusing the badge.

For many years, we have championed police body cameras. We are fortunate that in our jurisdiction body cameras are commonly worn.

We have consistently said that those cameras should be turned on and recording every single interaction between law enforcement personnel and the public.

We also strongly believe those recordings are public records and should be made available to the public in a timely fashion.

While camera footage helps hold law enforcement personnel accountable for their actions, the recordings also serve to protect and defend the officers themselves.

If police officers, sheriff’s deputies or detectives are falsely accused, the footage can prove their innocence.

While the state of Georgia and the courts have not yet clearly defined exactly when body camera footage should be made available to the public, we believe that it should be viewed in exactly the same way initial police reports are handled.

Initial incident reports must be available to the press and the public as soon as they have been processed. Camera footage is the purest form of an initial report.

We wanted to write about this again when there is not a current situation begging for the release of body camera footage so authorities can consider the importance of this issue in a dispassionate way.

In instances across the nation where there have been bad interactions with the police, public outrage has been exasperated by long delays in releasing body cam footage.

While state laws and the courts may not yet be requiring recordings to be released immediately, it is in the strong public interest to do so in almost every case.

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