Coalition of Citizens and Community Organizations Support Implementation of the Body Worn Camera Program
The Police Accountability Task Force of Howard County (PATF-HoCo) is Calling for Immediate Implementation of the Body Worn Camera Program at the Howard County Police Department
In 2015, a citizen-led committee on community policing, made up of the Howard County Police Department’s Citizen Advisory Council, called for implementation of a pilot program to explore equipping its officers with body cameras.
In 2017, a 45-day body camera pilot program was completed. Ten officers participated in two 45-day trials, wearing body cameras at all times when on duty and in uniform. The final report from the committee on community policing, which has not been released to the public, recommended the county move forward with the body-worn camera program but delay it due to startup costs and other police priorities.
At a June 22, 2020 monthly County Council meeting, Police Chief Myers said the pilot program helped establish that body cameras were useful tools for officers to have and would provide more transparency and a higher degree of accountability. The County Executive said the county was “revisiting” the program and “evaluating how we want to move forward.”
We (PATF-HoCo and the coalition of citizens and community organizations) are calling for immediate implementation of the program. It is time for Howard County to follow the lead of other jurisdictions in Maryland that have implemented BWC Programs – including Montgomery County, Harford County, Baltimore County, Queen Anne’s County, Wicomico County and the cities of Baltimore, Frederick, Salisbury, Berlin and Fruitland.
We consider that it is essential for the County Executive to authorize the funding and staffing required to implement the BWC Program and we call on all County leadership to take the necessary measures to move forward on this important initiative as soon as possible.
The Police Accountability Task Force of Howard County (PATF-HoCo), is a group of like-minded community activists who are all long-term residents of the county. We organized last summer to take action within Howard County to address issues and concerns around racial inequality/disparities in policing.
Our current focus is the implementation of a Body-Worn Camera Program at the Howard County Police Department. We are excited to be working with so many other significant community organizations in our county who share this objective.
The list of organizations, which may also be found at www.patf-hoco.com are as follows:
- African American Community Roundtable
- American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland
- Chinese American Network for Diversity and Opportunity
- Howard County Citizens Association
- Howard County Coalition for Immigrant Justice
- Our Revolution Howard County
- Progressive Maryland