ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County officials will launch a police body-worn camera program in the next fiscal year.

Over the next year, they will hire and train personnel to launch this program and get the equipment needed.

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County Executive Calvin Ball said the county launched a year-long pilot program for body cameras in 2017, but faced financial issues to implement a full time program.

In addition to budgetary concerns, there was a lack of adequate storage space and staffing.

The program would need 23 new positions between the state’s attorney office, Howard County Police as well as additional cameras for the Sheriff’s Department.

Ball said the county will allot between $3.2 and $3.3 million for the full implementation of a body-worn camera program starting with the next fiscal year, which starts on July 1.

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“While we have not had issues here in Howard County like those in other parts of our great nation, there is still much work to be done to restore confidence and restore relationships, especially with communities of color,” Ball said.

It will take a year to get the staff trained, increase data storage space and buy the equipment needed.

Eventually, 300 uniformed officers will have body-worn cameras.

Angie Page is a member of the Howard County Accountability Task Force. She said these cameras serve as a third-party witness.

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“With the George Floyd murder, and if it had not been for the recording, then everyone wouldn’t have been privy to what exactly happened, and because of that people came together and said no more we want a stop to this,” Page said.

Rachel Menitoff