TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — The Baltimore County Police Department Friday issued its first policy outlining how it will publicly release video from officers’ body-worn cameras.
The department called the policy an important step to build and maintain trust with the community.
Under the policy, the police chief can now decide to release body-worn camera video even if it hasn’t been requested by the media. The videos can show anything from positive interactions to critical or controversial encounters, but the decision to release the footage has to be made within 30 days of the incident.
“We finally feel like we’ve gotten to that point where we have been able to effectively put together a good policy regarding the release and the withholding of videos,” police spokesperson Ofc. Jen Peach said.
The policy comes a week after the department released body camera video of the controversial arrest of a 76-year-old grandmother in Gwynn Oak.
In recent years, two other high-profile cases where body camera video was released include the murder of Ofc. Amy Caprio in 2018 and the deadly police shootout with a man firing shots from a bus in Dundalk in 2017.
Under the new policy, the chief will consult with the state’s attorney’s office prior to releasing critical incident footage.
County Executive Johnny Olszewski said in a statement the policy helps make the county “more transparent and accountable.”
Residents had mixed reactions to the policy.
“I think it’s a good idea just, you know, you can see the inner reactions so everybody can see the whole story,” Mo Sillah said.
“The good thing is the public can see all the incidents that happen — the good ones and the bad ones — but the bad thing is they can be selective,” said Hamza Virk.
The videos would likely be posted on the department’s YouTube page.