BEL AIR, Md. — While the move to equip officers with body-worn cameras may not be a new concept, doing so for Bel Air's police would make them one of the first in Harford County, aside from the sheriff's office, to make the change.
"When you have the body-worn camera, we're able to document things from start to finish and we don't have the option to pick and choose parts that might be manipulated or played with to look a certain way," Chief Charles Moore said.
The town's top cop Moore says as the evolution of the technology has only grown to show what he calls a benefit, the cameras get rid of one-sided arguments and presents facts.
"You have to make sure that you have good policies and procedures in place and make sure everybody understand them, and everybody is following them," Moore said.
Bel Air is a few months from approving the FY2020 fiscal budget.
There's an expected $30,000 allocated for body-worn cameras for the 32 patrol officers in Bel Air. After that, there will be steady flows of $20,000 for the following years until every officer within the department is equipped with one – good for not only typical stops, but crime scene examination.
"I believe that it'll probably reduce the anxiety from a traumatic situation. It'll reduce some trauma for that officer to have to re-evaluate what they did, and it's great for the community to know that we're keeping ourselves accountable," Det. Corporal Matthew Gullion said.
Gullion, who's a spokesman with the department, says from there it can serve as another measure to make sure department transparency is a priority.
It's a point Moore says shouldn't be taken for granted.
"Sometimes they're involved in incidents that a body camera could help them doing what they need to do," Moore said.
Police have yet to fully decide on a vendor for the cameras, but are positive when the next budget is approved in July, they'll move forward in the process.
Chief Moore says you can expect to see them some time in the fall.