Baltimore picks Taser to supply police body cams

Posted at 5:40 PM, Jan 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 08:35:18-05
A total of 155 officers in three different police districts in Baltimore tested the various body cameras for months, and now it appears the city is ready to move forward with a single provider.
"After a thorough evaluation, our team selected Taser International offering Axon body cameras and cloud-based storage services," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.
While the officers who were equipped with the test cameras found technical differences in operating them, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis says they had nothing, but good things to say about their impact as they responded to calls for service.
"They say that arrestees are more prone to comply with arrests and they say when they're dispatched to areas based on citizens’ calls for service where there's complaints of loitering or drug dealing or things of that nature that those crowds of people disperse more immediately," Davis said.
The commissioner says the cameras also took a lot of the confrontation out of police encounters with citizens, as both apparently modified their behavior knowing their words and actions were being recorded.
The choice of Taser and its Axon body camera comes more than a year after the mayor vetoed a city council measure, which would have mandated cameras for police officers, and she's standing by her decision to forgo haste in getting this right.
"While some would have me rush in and promise to outfit all the officers within a month or two and those calls were very loud and very persistent, this was far more complex than simply going down the street to Radio Shack and grabbing cameras off the shelf," Rawlings-Blake said.
While there is still plenty of governmental procedure and negotiating to come, the mayor's goal is to present the board of estimates with a final contract by the end of February.
At this point, they can't say how much it's going to cost.

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