(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
Baltimore County police Tasers will soon be equipped with cameras, and the department will also examine the use of body cameras for county officers, Baltimore Brew reports.
The county will spend about $108,000 in cameras for the police department’s 54 Tasers. The battery-powered cameras will attach to the stun weapons and are designed to activate whenever an officer turns the Taser on.
A pilot program to test the Tasers will start within 30 days, Police Chief Jim Johnson said [Friday]. The department will then take several months to evaluate the effectiveness of the cameras.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz directed Johnson to lead an internal review on the challenges and risks of implementing body cameras for field officers, according to the report.
Police body cameras are a hot topic in the news locally and nationally, as President Barack Obama, in the wake of unrest over cases in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, publicly supported their use by police nationwide, as The New York Times reported.
In neighboring Baltimore city, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake last week made good on a threat to veto a City Council bill that would have mandated body cameras, though she supports implementing the devices.
“There exists no ordinance creating the SWAT team, or the equestrian unit, or mandating the use of the police helicopter,” she wrote in a letter to the council. “This confirms my inherent belief that these are all issues that should and indeed must be decided administratively and not legislatively.”-30-
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