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County police to start wearing body cameras

Posted: 8:57 AM, Sep 18, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-18 08:57:04-04
With a number of high profile police shooting and use of force cases grabbing headlines in recent months, many police agencies are considering body cameras, and now Baltimore County has decided to make them standard issue.

"Today, we're announcing a policy to implement body cameras for uniformed personnel in the Baltimore County Police Department," Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said.

By July of next year, 150 officers will be outfitted with the cameras and almost 1,300 more will get them the following year.

While complaints against the department have been minimal, Kamenetz says he wants to keep it that way.

"Just because it did not happen yesterday does not mean it won't happen tomorrow, and I want to make sure that this department is well into the 21st century-policing model, making use of all technologies that are available," he said.

The county will spend more than $7 million over the next five years on the program, and it will create 21 new jobs to help run it.

Police Chief Jim Johnson called it the most daunting, complex issue he's faced in 38 years in law enforcement, but the time for the cameras has come.

"Baltimore County has always been on the cutting edge of public safety technology, policy and procedure.  It's the Baltimore County way,” said Johnson, “My men and women have to accept this as a tool in policing that is here to stay."

At a time when the county executive has come under fire for not spending money to put air conditioning in some of the public schools, he says he thinks the body cameras are a great investment to keep the public's confidence in those who protect them.

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