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Baltimore Police Officers May Get Body Cameras

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With police encounters under intense scrutiny, there are growing calls for officers to record those encounters with cameras on their bodies. Some Maryland police departments are already doing it—and Baltimore could be next.

Christie Ileto talks to city leaders.

Body cameras caught a suspected drunk driver fleeing cops—and when it’s on video, it’s hard to argue the facts.

“It’s something worth taking a look at,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Wednesday, Baltimore’s mayor is considering using the device, already used by Laurel police.

“If there’s an incident, it could be a teachable moment and we can learn from it,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “And both sides—public and police—are protected.”

The country is searching for answers about what led to a deadly police shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown. The mayor has some concerns about the cameras.

“The issue of privacy and who has control and access to those tapes,” she said. “If there’s a 911 call, that becomes public.”

But some residents are already on board.

“You’ll know what happened. You could see it. It’s coming from the camera,” said one resident, Billy.

Last year, state lawmakers considered requiring all Maryland officers to wear body cams being placed on the officer’s badge, collar or eyewear.

Body cams would have been useful when police stopped Tyrone West last year. Residents say he was beaten excessively; an autopsy shows he died from a heart condition made worse while struggling with police.

“That’s what we’re taking a look at. We know that some jurisdictions use them,” Rawlings-Blake said.

But for now, those extra set of eyes are just something the city is eying.

The mayor says they haven’t taken a look at the costs but Laurel police cameras were around $2,000 apiece.

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