TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — The growing outcry over recent police actions has Baltimore County taking steps to build trust in police. The county is investing in body cameras so the community and officers feel safe.
Rick Ritter has the department’s new plan.
It might be a little surprising to hear Baltimore County–an area with a low crime rate–is interested in body cameras. But the county executive says it only takes one negative incident to change the image of their entire department.
Relationships–tarnished. Lines of trust–gone. In parts of the country, an alliance between police officers and citizens seems hopeless.
“The black African American community is actually being killed week after week,” said Chanel Cruz, Washington, D.C.
But in an effort to keep theirs strong, the Baltimore County Police Department will now study the possibility of body cameras for its officers. It’s a move spearheaded by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
“We want citizens to have confidence in the decision making actions of a police officer,” said Kamenetz.
Body cameras have become a source of controversy following the fallout in Ferguson, Missouri, where a white officer was cleared of all charges after shooting and killing an unarmed teen.
“I have a 20-year-old son and in any case that could’ve been my son,” said Germaine Wiggins, Pikesville.
It’s a decision sparking chaos and prompting President Obama to propose body cameras on officers nationwide.
In addition to the body camera study, the Baltimore County Police Department will test tasers on cameras–something they expect to start in the next 30 days.
It’s a camera that immediately goes off when an officer pulls the taser from his or her case
“I just think it’s important to do. There’s been so many incidents now,” said Judy Zaba, Baltimore.
But still, plenty of citizens have their concerns.
“Just wearing them is one thing, but seeing who will be evaluated and looking at the film to see about their actions is another,” said Jabari Bush, Baltimore County.
Some of those concerns will be addressed in the study. The police chief must report back to the county executive within 90 days.
The county plans to invest roughly $100,000 in taser cameras.
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