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Keyword: body worn cameras

Full Deployment is On Time and Within Budget

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced today that the County has successfully completed its aggressive schedule of equipping all uniformed police officers with body-worn cameras.

“Our police and information technology professionals implemented this important transparency initiative in a thorough and expedited manner,” said Kamenetz. “I appreciate the concerted efforts of our many partners including the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge Number 4, State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger and Sheriff R. Jay Fisher. We received valuable input from many stakeholders including the NAACP, ACLU, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and representatives from the Latino community and other community groups.”

In the fall of 2015, Kamenetz and Police Department leaders decided to move forward with deploying the cameras, despite recommendations of a workgroup to wait and continue studying the complex legal and operational issues related to the cameras, data storage and privacy. “Waiting wasn’t a good option because these cameras are such a valuable tool in strengthening the relationship of trust and understanding with the community. By objectively capturing the actions of officers in the field, they improve transparency and help reduce complaints against officers and facilitate more efficient, effective prosecutions,” Kamenetz said.

In October of 2016, County Executive Kamenetz acted to accelerate the full implementation of the body camera program by fourteen months by increasing overtime funds to triple the rate of officer training. 

“The body-worn camera program has already proven helpful in a number of arrests and prosecutions, and as we move forward we are committed to adapting our program as best practices and new issues may evolve,” said Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan.

“Body cameras are a valuable law enforcement tool that helps to protect officers and the public alike, and I think that County Executive Kamenetz was wise to move forward quickly with equipping our officers,” said County Council Chairman Tom Quirk.  

Program Costs

The first five years of the program will cost $7.1 million. That includes $1.25 million for the cameras and related equipment and $5.9 million for maintenance and storage. The annual cost of running the BWC program is estimated at $1.6 million, including ongoing officer training and the cost of hiring at least 21 additional full-time personnel in several departments to manage the program.

Video Storage and Access

Since the Body Worn Camera program was initiated in 2015, the County has processed more than 250,000 recordings including 45,000 hours of video and has transferred more than 79,000 files to the States Attorney’s Office (67,000 videos and 11,800 photographs).   

Storage and maintenance of massive amounts of video, and responding to public information requests are challenges requiring dedicated human resources support. Baltimore County’s implementation program included the hiring of additional IT support staff, evidence specialists, criminal records processors, forensic specialists, attorneys, training personnel and public information specialists.

Public Information Laws

Body camera video is treated the same as any other public record, subject to release under the Maryland Public Information Act and other relevant laws. Video footage of incidents also assists in resolving investigations by insurance companies, attorneys, the Motor Vehicle Administration and others through the Maryland Public Information Act.

The program includes public outreach to ensure that citizens are aware that these videos are public records, and that citizens as well as police will be portrayed.


Winning Programs Cover Body Worn Cameras, Veterans Resources, Brain Health and Food Insecurity 

This morning County Executive Kevin Kamenetz took time to personally thank several County employees for their innovative efforts that helped Baltimore County earn national recognition for programs including the Police Department’s new Body Worn Cameras initiative, and programs serving seniors, veterans, and more.

The County was awarded five 2017 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo), including one of the top “100 Brilliant Ideas at Work” designations for the Department of Aging’s Food Agent program that assigns volunteers to deliver free food to homebound seniors.

“Once again, Baltimore County was hailed as a national leader by NACo for our fresh approach to providing residents with cost-effective services in a way that emphasizes public safety, transparency and compassion,” Kamenetz said. “Our extremely dedicated Department of Aging staff really outdid themselves this year with three awards, including one of the top 100 ‘brilliant ideas at work’ awards for their Food Agent program, which proactively identifies low-income homebound seniors and coordinates regular delivery of donated groceries by volunteers.”

The Baltimore County agencies that merited national recognition this year include:

  • Baltimore County Police Department, Office of Information Technology and State’s Attorney’s Office for the Police Body-Worn Camera Program
  • Department of Aging for the Food Agent Program – “100 Brilliant Ideas at Work” Winner
  • Department of Aging for their “Brain Matters” Educational Initiative
  • Department of Aging and the HomeFront Committee of Baltimore County for the Veterans Outreach Initiative
  • Office of Information Technology for its ESRI Open Data Site transparency initiative 

“I continue to be impressed by the outstanding efforts of our County agencies and especially appreciate our employees’ commitment to building strong communities and caring for our most vulnerable people,” said Baltimore County Council Chair Tom Quirk. 


Show highlights police body cameras, public works, and Holidays at Hampton

The latest edition of Baltimore County’s half-hour cable television public affairs show, “Hello Baltimore County,” focuses on the Police Department's body cameras program, Department of Public Works operations and holiday events at the Hampton National Historic Site in Towson.

Body Cameras – Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger offers his perspective as the County’s head prosecutor.

ICYMI – In case you missed it, we review some recent headlines from your County government.

In the Trenches Every Day – Public Works Director Steve Walsh shares some surprising stats on the work DPW does to keep our daily lives on track.

Holidays at Hampton – Find out what the Hampton National Historic Site has in store to ring in the Yuletide season.

To view streaming video of the show, go to the Hello Baltimore County page at http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Videos/hellobaltimorecounty.html . Click on the menu icon in the upper left of the video screen to select an individual segment.

In addition to online access, the program runs several times per week on Cable Channel 25, in Baltimore County, at the following times:

Mondays: 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m.

Tuesdays: 12 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m.

Wednesdays: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 10 p.m.

Thursdays: 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 8 p.m.

Fridays: 11 a.m., 6 p.m.

Saturdays: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

Sundays: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017