It’s been a long time coming - but almost all Howard County Police Department officers are now equipped with body-worn cameras. The development is the result of a pilot program that started over four years ago.
Starting this week, all 300 of the Department’s uniformed officers will be required to wear a body cam while on duty. Nonuniformed cops will receive cameras later this year.
According to Department policy, officers must activate their body-worn cameras for all legitimate law enforcement purposes, including traffic stops and interactions with members of the public.
The technology deployed will not rely on cops remembering to turn on their cameras. The system is equipped with sensors that will automatically activate every time an officer:
● Unholsters their firearm
● Activates their taser, or
● Switches on their vehicle’s emergency lights
The Maryland State’s Attorney’s Office has hired 15 new employees to help the Department file, review, and redact the footage recorded by the cameras. These workers will also be responsible for providing footage to defendants and other parties who submit valid requests.
Police Chief Gregory Der believes the body cam program will result in fewer use-of-force reports and complaints against officers. The data shows he should be correct.
A 2021 study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and the Council on Criminal Justice's Task Force on Policing found that the use of body cameras reduced the number of civilian complaints against the police by 17 percent. It decreased the use of force by almost 10 percent. This meshes well with what David Zwanetz had to say about the news: All both sides are after is truth. Most interactions that anyone wants to review involves some level of stress, and stress plays tricks on the mind. In 2022 with every 7/11 having HD video, it’s nice that we can now begin to provide a level of technological clarity with a view of what took place.”
SZL has always vicariously pursued all body cam footage for any case for which it exists. Do not hesitate to reach out to the knowledgeable lawyers at Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake. We are ready to help you stand up for your rights.
To schedule an initial consultation, all you need to do is give us a call at (410) 927-5137. We are available 24/7!