BALTIMORE (WNEW/AP) — More than 150 Baltimore police officers will be outfitted with body cameras as part of a pilot program that will eventually expand to the entire force.
The program launched on Monday. Selected officers will be equipped with one of three types of cameras being tested. In February, the department will select one type of camera and begin giving cameras to all officers who regularly interact with the public. The rollout is expected to last two years.
Officer Hannah Parrish from the Western District already made use of her body camera made by Taser, and says she is feeling good about having it.
“There’s two sides to every story and it’s not often that the police officer’s side really comes out and it’ll be good for the community,” Parrish says.
Under certain circumstances a person can ask not to be recorded, and Deputy Commissioner Dean Palmere says an officer just can’t get rid of what’s recorded.
“They will not be able to delete video,” Palmere says.
Palmere says department officials hope the cameras improve public confidence, provide additional evidence and lead to fewer citizen complaints.
“There is positive feedback from the community already,” Palmere says. “I think the officers feel a sense of security, and that’s the purpose of this program… Is to continue to build the community’s trust moving forward.”
Departments nationwide are being urged to use cameras in light of several fatal shootings by police. In April, Baltimore erupted in riots after Freddie Gray died from injuries received in police custody.
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