Montgomery Police Brief Council on Body Cameras

Montgomery County police officials briefed the county council’s public safety committee on their body camera program earlier this week.

Bethesda Magazine reports:

Assistant Chief Luther Reynolds told the committee that approach provides officers with some discretion and enables them to decide when to record interactions. Reynolds and other police officials briefed the committee on officers’ use of the cameras that are now worn by 900 officers. This summer the police department moved to equip all of its officers with cameras after a successful pilot program.

During the briefing, council member Marc Elrich asked whether police would record daily interactions, such as an officer approaching a person on the street and asking where the person is headed. He said recordings of such interactions may show whether officers are making improper stops.

Lt. Charles Carafono said such a request would be considered an investigatory step and the officer’s camera should be recording.

Luther said the department believes it’s important that officers be able to control when the camera is recording to make sure sensitive situations such as an interview with a sexual assault victim or a fact-finding conversation with a local source are not recorded. If police were to record every interaction they had, he said, it could lead to less trust from the community or an unwillingness to report crimes—especially if the source of a tip can be identified through video footage.

Reynolds spoke at the NACo 2016 Legislative Conference earlier this year about the county’s policing technology as Route Fifty reports.

Read the Bethesda Magazine article and the Route Fifty report (pg. 17-18) for more information.