Maryland Looks Into Statewide Mandate on Police Body Cameras – NBC4 Washington – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2020-12-09 06:45:52 –

Legislators are pushing for a state-wide obligation to require police officers to equip police officers at all Maryland police stations, but video equipment and maintenance costs can be the biggest challenge. there is.

In October, after George Floyd’s death, a bipartisan legislative workgroup formed to focus on police accountability demands that all Maryland police stations use body cameras by 2025. I voted for the recommendation.

Senator Justin Lady, part of another legislative task force investigating police body cameras, said that if the state was financially feasible to do so, it would be a state-wide obligation to body cameras. He said he did not oppose it.

“We need to provide a way for the county to do it where it doesn’t break the budget,” Lady said. “You can’t mandate expensive things in small counties or towns and leave them to their devices.”

“I will be a supporter of state-wide use of body cameras,” Senator Charles Sidner of D-Baltimore County told Capital News Services. “But the question the Task Force is addressing is how to create an environment where local police stations can do it.”

The Task Force has spoken with many lawyers, law professors, and companies that manufacture body cameras. The financial burden of storing body camera footage is one of the biggest problems the Task Force has encountered.

Sydnor, Co-Chair of the Task Force, said: “The cost is not necessarily the camera itself, but the back-end storage, the processing of the (Information Disclosure Act) request video, the processing of the trial video.” That’s what we’ve been working on. ”

Maryland law enforcement agencies can establish a camera program they wear, but the state does not require them to do so.

Tracee Wilkins of News4 spoke with a professor at the University of Maryland. The professor was studying the relationship between police and civilians and talked about the implications of police cash flow.

Police body camera footage is available under state disclosure laws, with some exceptions, and requires additional staff and other resources to store and retrieve images.

Lady said she wanted to leave the police station and make her own decisions about body camera equipment, but said there should be a way for small counties and towns to piggyback on state contracts if obliged. ..

“I don’t want to mandate it, but I think (cameras) are good, and encouraging them is good,” Lady said. “We need to consider the financial aspects to make it easier for the jurisdiction to make its own choices.”

Montgomery County, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City are one of Maryland’s police stations with police officers equipped with body cameras.

“(Body cameras) provide transparency and accountability to both police officers and offenders,” said Washington County Sheriff Doug Marendore.

Mullendore, a member of the Task Force, said the Washington County Sheriff’s Office has been using body cameras for several years. According to Mullendore, more than 60 body cameras cost $ 40,000 annually.

However, in Baltimore County, a body camera program that includes 1,455 cameras costs $ 1.2 million annually. According to Baltimore County Police, they use two professional staff to process and edit requests. The department has four part-time police assistants to help get footage of the state lawyer’s office.

“(Body cameras) work great in Washington County,” said Mullendore. “We run a police academy here, showing good and bad footage from body cameras about how the case was handled. We tend to learn from them. there is.”

The Task Force has agreed that body cameras are beneficial in terms of training and clarity of executive interaction. However, it is not always the main solution in solving the problem of trust that people may have with police officers.

“I don’t think the body camera itself will regain credibility, but I think it provides information that we really didn’t know about,” Sidner said. “I believe (body cameras) capture the interactions between law enforcement and citizens and (and) give insight into how these engagements occur.”

Sidner said he believes body cameras are accountable, but believes that video camera footage taken by people has raised awareness of police atrocities. Floyd’s death, which caused public protest, was recorded by a teenage girl in Minneapolis.

“Video camera footage is proof of things, and the abuse that people have said has been happening for decades,” said Sidner. “Many police abuses in the black community are nothing new. They are just undocumented at today’s level.”

Andrea Headley, an assistant professor at Georgetown University who studied the relationship between police and the community in the color community and evaluated the cameras she wears, is trying to regain trust, especially in the minority community. He said he believes there is no quick solution.

“I don’t think (body cameras) are all the solutions the color community is looking for and will be a transformative solution,” Headley said. “One study found that body camera footage was used more often in court to bring citizens to justice and less often used as an accountability mechanism for executives. Cameras have the effect of reducing crime. There may be, but if you want to build trust, it’s not a strategy. ”

Mustafa Tameez, a security expert and former Homeland Security consultant, talks about his experience training police officers on implicit prejudice, community relationships, and diversity.

Headley said he believes state-wide missions would be effective if there were clear recommendations that would prevent police officers from discretion and provide timely public access to footage.

“From activation to public review, storage and search practice, we pull all the pieces apart,” says Headley. “I’m not saying that the state should say what each of these aspects looks like, but I think there should be clear and best recommendations.”

Maryland Looks Into Statewide Mandate on Police Body Cameras – NBC4 Washington Source link Maryland Looks Into Statewide Mandate on Police Body Cameras – NBC4 Washington

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