LAUREL, Md. (WJZ) — Videotaping police encounters. It’s a controversial issue when citizens record the cops. Now one Maryland police department is going to start recording citizens right back.
Monique Griego has more on the new wearable police cameras.
The cameras will be worn on sunglasses and other types of headgear. Many people believe they benefit both the police and the public.
For years, misbehaving cops have been caught on video. But now, police in Laurel will be doing more of their own recording–and the camera isn’t where you think.
“We use them for training. I want to use them for search warrant execution,” said Chief Richard McLaughlin, Laurel Police.
The sunglasses Officer Matt Jordan is wearing are equipped with a camera. Laurel police plan to deploy 10 wearable cameras so officers can record interactions.
“It’s kind of easy to have a he said she said scenario, but when it’s on video, you can’t argue the facts,” McLaughlin said.
Cop cams are the flip side to another issue. In recent years, police have been accused of illegally harassing people who videotaped them.
In 2010, a man who recorded an arrest at the Preakness sued the department after he said officers took his camera and deleted the video.
“Having proof of what happened can be very useful, both to protect officers and to protect citizens,” said attorney David Rocah, ACLU of Md.
Attorney David Rocah from the American Civil Liberties Union thinks cop cams are a good idea because most people act more professional when they know they’re being recorded. He also believes police interactions need more monitoring.
“It is an activity that goes largely undocumented and unregulated and it can have profound consequences for people,” Rocah said.
The videos recorded by the wearable cameras will be stored and monitored by an outside company. Officers can use a cell phone app to watch them.
Police will be required to notify the public that they are being recorded.