Skip Navigation

Photo Stream

 
 

Baltimore County News

Baltimore County News

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
  1. Baltimore County Police Department Implements Body-Worn Camera Program

    Program Begins July 6

    The Baltimore County Police Department's body-worn camera program is set to begin Wednesday, July 6. The first 10 cameras will be deployed that day to one officer in each of the county's 10 precincts. After that, BCoPD will train 10 officers a week for 15 weeks, until 150 cameras are deployed. These 150 cameras will be distributed throughout the 10 precincts and in other units where the Chief of Police has deemed camera use appropriate. This comprises the first phase of BCoPD's body camera initiative.

    The second and final phase of the program, involving 1,285 cameras, is scheduled to begin in July 2017. The program will be fully phased in by December 2018. When complete, 1,435 of the county's 1,900 police officers will wear cameras.

    County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Chief Jim Johnson, along with Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger, conducted a press briefing this afternoon at the Public Safety Building in Towson providing details about how the cameras will be used, how footage will be managed, limitations of BWCs and the anticipated benefits.
    "We're investing in this program for one reason," Kamenetz said. "We believe it will improve public safety by enhancing transparency, by reducing complaints against officers, by improving behavior of all parties involved in police activity and by making prosecutions more effective and efficient."

    Regarding prosecutions, Shellenberger said footage from citizen-operated and surveillance cameras already plays an important role in prosecutions; BWC footage – which shows police activity from the officer's perspective – promises to be another valuable prosecutorial tool.

    Use Policy

    At today's briefing, Chief Johnson highlighted the most important components of the body camera Use Policy.

    "My biggest concern was the potential for the cameras to strip officers of their autonomy," Johnson said, turning officers into robotic enforcers of the law. "This policy is specifically designed to preserve the autonomy and discretion of the police officer."

    Key points in the Use Policy:

    • Officers assigned body cameras will activate them as soon as possible unless it is unsafe, impractical or impossible to do so.
    • Officers have discretion to activate the camera during any legitimate law enforcement activity if they believe recording may be appropriate. They have discretion to de-activate the camera in places or situations where there’s a heightened expectation of privacy (e.g., locker rooms or rest rooms). They also have the discretion to de-activate in order to secure statements from witnesses and victims.
    • Officers will notify people as soon as possible that they are being recorded unless it’s unsafe, impractical or impossible to do so. Civilians cannot choose whether or not they are recorded.
    • Retention periods for footage depend on the type of incident. For the least serious incidents, the retention period is 18 months. For the most serious felonies, the footage is kept permanently.
    • BWC footage is a public record subject to release under the Maryland Public Information Act and other relevant laws to the public, including media. Baltimore County will treat requests for footage the same as requests for any other police record. The same exceptions apply. Footage of incidents in which there is a compelling public interest may be posted to official Police Department platforms.

    Johnson, who has been a law enforcement officer for nearly 40 years, called development of a body-worn camera program "the most challenging project I've ever been involved with. Cameras are part of our world. It's the right time for Baltimore County Police to develop consistent policies, procedures and practices for the use of cameras as a tool to enhance public safety. I'm confident our program will accomplish that."

    Program Cost

    An eight-year, $12.5 million contract with Taser International, Inc. includes purchase of the Axon Flex camera (BCoPD offers officers a choice of camera mounts), maintenance, unlimited data storage, licenses and other expenses. These costs will be paid with revenue from the County's speed camera program.

    When fully implemented in FY2019, the ongoing annual maintenance cost of the cameras will be an estimated $1.6 million. The speed camera program will cover the cost of Police personnel needed to run the program – about $1.1 million. The remaining $500,000 of the personnel cost will be covered by the Office of Information Technology and the State's Attorney's Office.

    Thu, 30 Jun 2016 19:00:00 GMThttp://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/Baltimore_County_Police_Department_Implements_Body_Worn_Camera_Program
  2. Fourth of July Highlights at County Parks

    Michael L. Schneider, Community Outreach Liaison
    Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks

    The spirit of America’s independence can be heard, and seen, across our beautiful County throughout the long Fourth of July weekend – close to home and without the long lines at the toll booths! Baltimore County Recreation and Parks Councils, staff and communities are working hard to make this weekend memorable and fun way to celebrate with family and friends all that is great about America.

    Over on the County’s east side, The Heritage Foundation is celebrating with its annual Fair at Dundalk Heritage Park (July 1 through July 3).  On the Fourth of July, the fun and community traditions continue with a 6K race (starting at CCBC Dundalk), a parade starting at Logan Village Shopping Center, and the popular fireworks at North Point Government Center. Details of these events can be found on the Dundalk Heritage Fair website.

    Up in Carroll Manor, it is the Annual Community Fireworks at Sweet Air Park and Jacksonville Elementary.  Join upwards of a thousand of your friends and neighbors for entertainment and fireworks on Saturday, July 2. For details, check out this flier: Community Fireworks with the Jacksonville Optimists.

    On the west side of Baltimore County, the 34th Annual Arbutus Firecracker 10K is taking place on the Fourth of July starting at 8 a.m. at Arbutus Middle School. Then at 3 p.m., the Arbutus annual Fourth of July Parade lines up on Montrose Avenue and enters in the 1600 block of Frederick Road.  Here’s some FAQ’s about the rest of that exciting day (including fireworks) in the Arbutus community parade and fireworks.

    There’s also the 53rd Annual Fullerton Fireworks Foundation’s Fourth of July Celebration at Fullerton Park, where the fun (music, food and fireworks) starts at 5 p.m. There’s lots to do, and you can read about it here at the Fullerton Fireworks Foundation website.

    Now, it wouldn’t be the Fourth of July in Baltimore County without the thunderous roar of fireworks and the magnificent sounds of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on July 3 and 4 at Oregon Ridge with the annual BSO Star Spangled Spectacular. The friendly crowds, delicious foods, sights and sounds make this the ultimate community Independence Day celebration. Gates open at 5 p.m.  Visit the Star-Spangled-Spectacular website for more details.  

    And just in case this isn’t enough to choose from, here are lists of fireworks displays and holiday parades across the County.

    So, you can see, by the dawn’s early light and the dusk’s lit sky, there’s much to do this holiday weekend with Baltimore County Recreation and Parks – Happy Birthday, USA!

    Thu, 30 Jun 2016 14:10:00 GMThttp://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/Fourth_of_July_Highlights_at_County_Parks
  3. Safely Serve up July 4th Fun

    Natalie Litofsky, Public Safety Information Specialist
    Baltimore County Fire Department

    July 4th weekend is one of the most popular occasions for family and community cookouts. While you’re serving up burgers and hotdogs, it’s also important to remember that safety is still a serious element of summer fun.

    The Baltimore County Fire Department recommends that backyard grillers carefully read specific product information after buying new barbeque equipment, and that they review this information each year.

    County law prohibits the use of charcoal or propane-fueled grills – or any other open-flame cooking or heating device – on any balcony or within 15 feet of multi-family buildings such as apartments. This restriction does not apply to townhouses or single family homes.

    Gas Grills

    Liquefied petroleum gas (propane) used to fire gas barbecue grills, is highly flammable. Propane is contained under pressure in a steel cylinder. Vaporized and in a confined area, it has the explosive force of several sticks of dynamite.

    You should never use a gas grill inside of a structure or store the propane tanks inside of any part of a structure, such as an enclosed porch or balcony. Keep propane tanks in a shady or cool area outside and in the upright position so the relief valve is on top.

    Inspect propane grill hoses and connections prior to use. Make sure all fixtures, valves, and caps on propane canisters are working and are tightened properly. If the hose has deteriorated or the fittings are loose, do not use the grill until you correct the problem.

    Although they may be eager to help, you should never let young children use a gas-powered barbecue grill.

    Charcoal Grills

    Never use a charcoal barbecue in an enclosed space or inside the house. Combustion of charcoal produces carbon monoxide, which can be deadly. You should place a charcoal grill on a non-combustible surface a safe distance away from any structure.

    It’s very important that you keep children away from a charcoal grill, because there is serious risk of both injury and spreading fire if they were to knock it over.

    Do not use lighter fluid on a fire that has already been started. If you need to use a starter fluid, use only charcoal lighter fluid and follow the directions on the container. Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquid to start a grill.

    After you are finished grilling, pour water on the charcoal or ashes before disposal so they will not restart a fire.

    Wed, 29 Jun 2016 19:54:00 GMThttp://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/Safely_Serve_up_July_4th_Fun
  4. Baltimore County Summer Restaurant Week Begins August 5

    Organizers of Baltimore County Restaurant Week—the Baltimore County Office of Tourism and the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce—are pleased to announce its 12th bi-annual promotion beginning on Friday, August 5, through Saturday, August 20. Joining Sysco this year are two new sponsors for the August promotion—RestaurantReputations.com and CohnReznik LLP.

    Participating restaurants from across the area will feature special menus at discounted, fixed prices, offering one to three course brunch, lunch and dinner specials ranging from $15 to $35.

    “Foodies and patrons alike look forward to Restaurant Week—it’s a great time for them to experience places they’ve been meaning to try at a big savings,” stated Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “I encourage everyone to experience the many diverse cuisines in the County and support the local restaurant industry.”

    As restaurants register, County residents can view the updated list of participating restaurants.

    Social media partners for the promotion include Downtown Diane, CITYPEEK and The Restaurant Association of Maryland.

    Tue, 28 Jun 2016 15:00:00 GMThttp://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/Baltimore_County_Summer_Restaurant_Week_Begins_August_5
Read More From Baltimore County News