At the MACo Summer Conference session “Body Cameras: Justice Through the Lens” to attendees learned about the many practical and legal considerations a jurisdiction must make before embarking on a body camera program.
The presentations provided by Phillip E. Hinkle, Chief of Staff for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office; Sheriff Tim Cameron from St. Mary’s County; and Corporal Mike Hickman from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office began with two dash-cam videos that helped exemplify some of the benefits and drawbacks of cameras. The speakers then delved into the many things a jurisdiction must take into consideration before launching a program including: the costs of cameras, maintenance, data and storage; recording options; and handling community/police expectations for the cameras. Much time and emphasis was spent on issues surrounding privacy and public disclosure under the Maryland Public Information Act.
Additionally, Hinkle, who serves on the The Maryland Commission Regarding the Implementation and Use of Body Cameras by Law Enforcement Officers, gave an overview of the work the commission is doing to develop best practices for the use of body cameras and how that will contribute to the work of the Police Training Commission on developing regulations for the use of body cameras. The presentations concluded with Hickman discussing the body camera program his department is piloting with an example of the body camera in use.
This session was moderated by Delegate Valentino-Smith and held from 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm on Thursday, August 13, 2015 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. This year’s MACo Summer Conference theme was “Energize. Mobilize. Capitalize.” For more information about MACo’s Summer Conference, please visit www.mdcounties.org/MACoCon.