Press release from March 24th:
The Police Accountability Task Force of Howard County (PATF-HoCo) is Pleased to Join the County Executive today at the Announcement of the Implementation of the Body Worn Camera Program at the Howard County Police Department
A group of community organizations came together to advocate for the implementation of Police Body Worn Cameras (BWC) in Howard County for Fiscal Year 2022, believing that it was time for Howard County to join other Maryland jurisdictions that have already put this program in place.
We are grateful that the County Executive has responded to the calls by Howard County residents in announcing the implementation of the program.
The $3.2 million program announced today covers cameras for 300 uniformed officers and additional cameras for 70 Sheriff’s Deputies. It is also intended to fund 13 new positions in the State’s Attorney’s Office.
“We are committed to continue to work with county leadership to ensure that the BWC program is a model for strengthening police accountability and enhancing the relationship between citizens and law enforcement.” said Ted Stewart from the Police Accountability Task Force of Howard County.
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 in the summer of 2020 to take action within Howard County to address issues and concerns around racial inequality/disparities in policing.
We are pleased with the progress that has been made on this initiative as evidenced by County Executive Calvin Ball’s announcement today. We will look forward to receiving more details in the ensuing days and will study and review this program announcement with the community organizations that have supported our initiative. We remain fully committed to our continuing engagement with county leadership to fulfil our goal of implementing a best-in-class Body Worn Camera Program for our County’s law enforcement personnel.
The murder of George Floyd in 2020 by police officers in Minneapolis triggered an unprecedented number of protests in the United States and internationally against police brutality, especially towards Black people. Sadly, many believe this heinous act would have received no attention had it not been recorded.
Given this backdrop, we believe that the County Executive’s announcement today responds to our community’s urgent requests for action, and is an important step towards helping to prevent a future tragic encounter with the police department in our own backyard.
We support a full, final and comprehensive implementation of a Body Worn Camera Program (“BWC Program”) for the Howard County Police Department (“HCPD”) and other County law enforcement organizations. Our recommendation is supported by a group of highly engaged citizens and community organizations who are concerned about public safety in Howard County.
The list of organizations, supporting this important program, which may also be found at www.patf-hoco.com is as follows:
- African American Coalition of Howard County
- African American Community Roundtable
- American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland
- Chinese American Network for Diversity and Opportunity
- Columbia Democratic Club
- Howard County Citizens Association
- Howard County Coalition for Immigrant Justice
- Maryland Poor People’s Campaign
- Our Revolution Howard County
- Progressive Maryland