The Body Worn Camera program in Howard County is officially underway. The program was funded in County Executive Calvin Ball’s two most recent budgets and initially includes cameras for 300 officers, 54 sheriff’s deputies, staffing and technical needs.
Two years ago, Ball’s budget included $2.8 million to fully implement the body worn camera program. He included $4.7 million in fiscal 2023 (which started last month) to continue operations.
Uniformed Howard County Police Department officers who regularly interact with members of the public are required to wear and operate body worn cameras, including patrol, community outreach, school resource officers, traffic investigations and tactical. The fisc al 2023 approved budget provides funding to purchase BWCs for remaining HCPD officers, including detectives and non-uniformed officers.
Cameras will be automatically activated every time an officer turns on emergency equipment in a patrol car, turns on a Taser or removes a firearm from his or her holster. Vehicles and holsters are being equipped with sensors to ensure cameras are immediately activated in these situations.
Officers will activate BWCs for legitimate law enforcement purposes only.
The State’s Attorney Office has hired 15 new positions to manage the workload for cases with video footage, out of the approximately 11,000 total cases handled by the office.