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$11.6 million Baltimore Police Body Camera Program Launches May 1

March 11, 2016  | 

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis announce plans to have every Baltimore City police officer wear a TASER International body-worn camera while on duty. (Screen capture: Baltimore Sun Video)
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis announce plans to have every Baltimore City police officer wear a TASER International body-worn camera while on duty. (Screen capture: Baltimore Sun Video)

A year after the death of Freddie Gray, 500 Baltimore police officers will begin wearing body cameras full time on May 1, with the rest of the force to follow by 2018, reports the Baltimore Sun.

City and police officials outlined the launch of the permanent program Thursday, following a two-month pilot program late last year in which 150 officers wore the cameras in the city's Eastern, Central, and Western districts.

"I firmly believe that the cameras will help bring a greater sense of accountability and trust," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at a news conference.

The Police Department will deploy the cameras in five stages, 500 officers at a time, with a goal of equipping all 2,500 officers by January 2018.

The program will cost the city $11.6 million over five years, said Rawlings-Blake, who called the pilot program and bidding process necessary to the success of implementing a department-wide program.

The city's spending panel is expected to approve the program at a meeting next week.

Comments (6)

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

Robert singer @ 3/13/2016 8:18 AM

I have no problem with the concept of wearing cameras except telling your police Dept that we don't trust or believe you is not a message that police officers want to here. I wait for the day that the public is begging their police to protect them from the dregs of society again. As long as we allow the liars. thieves and police haters to write the narrative no one will be safe remember you get the type of police you deserve.

DD16 @ 3/14/2016 4:40 AM

I totally agree. Now these people who complain on the police and fabricate most of the story such as "hands up don't shoot" B.S. will be mad now because the real story will be caught on camera. In their minds it is now not fare. I've handled many complaint calls and still do and once they are done complaining, I ask them if they would like to come in and watch the video or listen to the audio of the incident they are complaining about. In most cases there is a silent pause because they are full of ..... and rarely do they want to watch or listen to what really happened. I agree, the agency needs to trust their cops first and use the camera's as a tool to protect them.

Leonard @ 3/14/2016 11:44 AM

@Robert & DD16: You guys act as if police are blameless in the push for body cameras. It has been the questionable activities of police that have driven this trend. Police have a long a rich history of fabrication that has been exposed by your own dash cameras and video taken by the public. The public has to take the Reagan principle "Trust but verify" approach to law enforcement actions.

tim @ 3/14/2016 12:54 PM

it depends on the size of the department but our Department started using the Body cams about 6 months prior to the incident at Furguson. We had a rash of complaints against officers prior to us getting the cameras. But since the roll out date the complaints have almost completely stopped. This is in part to the public knowing that our officers wear the cameras and the footage will be reviewed during a complaint. In addition all of our complaints have to sworn to and if a false complaint is filed we prosecute the person. This has saved several of our officers from complaints that they would not be able to defend otherwise. Our officers are required to have the cameras on during contacts with the public. So if they choose not to turn it on during and incident and there is a complaint generated after this falls back on the officer internally.

Percy @ 3/14/2016 10:12 PM

Let's see how long it takes for a malfunction, or I forgot to turn it on during a high profile OIS. Or perhaps an order "all recording off" when an officer is caught drunk and asleep with his dick in hands. Oh wait that already has happened.

DD16 @ 3/15/2016 5:47 AM

Leonard, I'll be the first to admit we have some cops out there doing some stupid stuff but if we look at the big picture the percentage is minimal. Don't quote me but we have approximately 900 thousand cops in the U.S. and with social media, all people hear is about the bad things this small amount of cops do. With that, everybody and their brother wants to chime in and say how bad cops are. I've been doing the Cop job for over 30 years and still love it. During this time I've seen several officers fired at my own agency for yes "doing stupid stuff" but all of the good the men and women of law enforcement does get forgotten and overshadowed because all that is reported is the bad things. I would suggest that you get with your local Law Enforcement Agency and do a few ride along's to see what actually goes on during a shift, you may get a different perspective. As for Percy, there's no hope for him. If he saw an OIS, he'd be running away or be curled up in a corner sucking his thumb.

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