Task Force Recommends Baltimore City Pilot Body Cameras

A mayoral task force recommended that Baltimore City implement a pilot program equipping 100 police officers with body cameras before rolling the program out citywide. As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

In releasing its report, the task force said the cameras would help restore trust with residents, reduce officer misconduct and boost transparency and accountability for the Baltimore Police Department.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she is committed to starting a pilot program this year, but noted that there will be challenges as the program expands across the city. She reiterated that she and other community leaders are aware of residents’ complaints.

“We’re fighting like hell every day to make a difference in their lives,” she said.

A citywide program could cost Baltimore $5.5 million to $7.9 million yearly to furnish cameras to 1,500 patrol officers, depending on the type and number of cameras used, the 16-member task force said.

A pilot program would allow a thorough review of different cameras and data storage capabilities while giving police leaders time to vet policies and practices, the task force said. The group, which has been meeting since last year, is led by the Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant, the pastor at Empowerment Temple, and attorney James R. Benjamin Jr.

Task force recommendations also include notification and storage requirements as well as limits on the use of video recordings. The goal is to expand the pilot program citywide by July 2016.

For more information read the full article in The Baltimore Sun.