City Councilman Nick Mosby, District 7, introduced a bill seeking to speed up the use of body cameras by police.
In May, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the police would have body cameras by the end of the year. On Monday City Councilman Nick Mosby, District 7, introduced a bill seeking to speed up that process.
Rawlings-Blake statement on body cameras came after the riots in April following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. The issue of body cameras came up before the death of Freddie Gray when the City Council introduced legislation requiring them last December. Rawlings-Blake vetoed that measure saying there were privacy concerns. Some of those concerns were alleviated when Gov. Larry Hogan signed legislation exempting police from the law in Maryland that outlaws recording someone without their consent.
Councilman Mosby’s bill calls for using funds seized in crimes to pay for the body cameras. In addition to funding body cameras, the money would be used to pay for cameras in police vans. A study in 2014 by Vocativ.com found that of the 100 of the most populous cities in the U.S. 41 use body cameras, 25 plan to use them and 30 have no plans to use them.
In an interview with the AFRO, Mosby said the time is now to implement the program, not some time in the future. “My resolution calls for the city to forgo a pilot program and really get cameras, specifically in areas where we see a high amount of violence and crime. The pilot program is only about a 100 police officers,” he said. “There have been so many white papers, research studies and pilots already done throughout the country. It doesn’t make sense to reinvent the wheel. We know that it’s important to provide safety and transparency for not only the public but for our officers as well.”
“We share the same sense of urgency to have police body cameras deployed as soon as possible,” said Sean Naron, spokesman for the Mayor, in a statement to the AFRO. “The Mayor has ordered that all red tape be cut in order to make sure we keep our deadline of having cameras begin operating before the end of the year. Additionally, we have already begun reviewing the prospect of moving forward with cameras in the back of police vans. We will have an announcement soon on exactly how those changes will be carried out.”