Howard County to Pilot Police Body Cameras

The Howard County Police Department is gearing up to pilot a police body camera program. The pilot will include 10 officers. Once the pilot is concluded, approximately 250 officers could be equipped with cameras if the county decides to move forward with a permanent program.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

A 19-member police department committee is working through a months-long process to finalize the structure of the pilot program, including policies, trainings, data, retention and internal logistics.

A draft policy detailing the program will be released once it is finalized, said Howard County Police Department Spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn. Cameras will be in use over the next few months, most likely by July.

The agreement with Axon, which is at no cost to the police department, would initiate one of two 45-day trials with two vendors selected by the committee last year. Axon will provide a box-like, body-mounted camera and Axon Flex, a camera that is mounted on glasses or a head mount. A second trial with Utility, a company that provides body cameras run through cellphones, will begin after the first trial is completed.

If the department makes the program permanent, roughly 250 police officers would be outfitted with cameras, costing between an estimated $250,000 to $350,000. The police department has roughly 475 officers. The cost estimate does not include costs to maintain the program, including additional staff needed to handle redactions to videos, data back-up, public information requests and back-end management.

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

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