ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County Executive Calvin Ball on Monday announced plans to use $1.6 million in American Rescue Plan money to fund a body-worn camera program for police in the county.

“Through the use of federal funding, we can fund our body-worn camera program immediately following Council approval of our budget amendment,” Ball said in a statement. “This essential program can finally move forward – and provide another layer of safety and security for our officers and our community. I am confident that the usage of body-worn cameras will generate a mutually beneficial relationship that will serve our officers and our residents while upholding transparency and justice.”

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Ball said he plans to submit a budget amendment on Thursday that will release $500,000 in county funds that were placed in contingency for a body-worn camera program. Additionally, the county earmarked $1 million in the fiscal year 2022 budget provide the cameras to Howard County police.

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In total, the county will spend $3.1 million to buy 600 cameras for 300 Howard County Police Department officers, hire 26 new positions across the police department, state’s attorney’s office and sheriff’s office, store the necessary software, and provide equipment to sheriff’s deputies.

“Police accountability is a fundamental tenet of our agency and these new body-worn cameras will contribute to that commitment,” Police Chief Lisa Myers said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing the outstanding relationships of trust and transparency our police department has long-established with the community.”

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If the budget amendment is passed by the Howard County Council, funding for the body-worn camera program would begin on Oct. 5, 2021.

CBS Baltimore Staff