NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Body cameras are now standard issue for any law enforcement agency in South Carolina.
Gov. Nikki Haley signed Senate Bill 47 into law Wednesday afternoon in North Charleston surrounded by the family of Walter Scott, whose death was caught on a cell phone camera.
Lawmakers have credited Scott's death and the video showing former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager shooting Scott in the back as the catalysts to pass this body cameras bill.
The bill went to Haley's desk on the last day of legislative session, after the House and Senate reached a deal on the bill. After signing the bill, Haley handed the pen to Scott's mother.
In the version that is now law, body cameras must be used by all state and local law enforcement agencies, and set of guidelines, costs, and requirements will be set up within six months by the state's Law Enforcement Training Council.
A "Body Worn Camera Fund" created by the Department of Public Safety will help cover costs. The camera footage is not subject to public record requests, but the footage can be obtained by attorneys, family members or subjects of the recording through court order.
Haley says that won't hinder transparency.
"They understand more importantly, we have to keep communication and transparency," Haley said. "What their job is, they're just trying to protect the evidence. That's why FOIA became an issue, so we could protect evidence and punish who needed to be punished."
Haley praised the legislature for their hard work getting the bill just over the line, but said work on body cameras is far from over.