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The Police Accountability Task Force of Howard County (PATF-HoCo) is outraged at this week’s Announcement by the County Executive of the delay of the Body Worn Camera Program

At a March 24, 2021 press conference, County Executive Calvin Ball announced that he would include in his FY 2022 budget funding to implement a comprehensive police Body-Worn Camera Program (BWC Program) in Howard County.

At the time, Dr. Ball said, “Focusing on public safety and reinforcing public trust remains a priority of my Administration, and we’re pleased to be moving this popular program forward in Howard County”.  He pledged to prioritize roughly $3.2M in funding for full implementation of the BWC Program by December 31, 2021.

At the same press conference, we, the Police Accountability Task Force of Howard County (PATF-HoCo), commended the county executive and expressed our continued support for a full, full, final, and immediate implementation of the BWC Program.

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Now, at the eleventh hour, Dr. Ball announced that the BWC program will be delayed until May 1, 2022. Dr. Ball’s actions were followed by the submission of another proposed budget amendment sponsored by County Councilmember Liz Walsh that would also have the effect of delaying the implementation until May 1, 2022.

We are outraged to learn that the County Executive has reneged on his commitment to fully implement this program by the end of 2021. As we write this, the County Council is considering two proposed amendments (Ball and Walsh amendments) that would gut funding for this critically important program and seriously delay its implementation.

On behalf of all our BWC coalition partners advocating for the BWC Program, this is totally unacceptable for our Community. We demand that the Walsh and the Ball amendments be immediately rescinded and that the BWC Program is fully implemented this year as promised.

We are demanding that County leadership at the County Executive and County Council level fully reinstate the $3.2M funding without any delay or contingency, to ensure that there is no delay in implementation.

We believe that a county with a $1.9B budget should not have to struggle to fund the expense of this critically important step to achieve greater police accountability and transparency in Howard County.

The time to implement the BWC Program is NOW, not next year. Our community is depending on our elected officials to do the right thing.

PATF-HoCo will be hosting a virtual press release on May 24, 2021 at 3pm. Virtual link to press conference will be forthcoming.

BWC Coalition Partners

ACLU Maryland | HoCo Coalition for Immigrant Justice | Howard County Citizens Association | IndivisibleHoCoMD | Our Revolution Howard County | Progressive Maryland | The African American Community Roundtable of Howard County | Chinese American Network for Diversity and Opportunity (CAN-DO) | Columbia Democratic Club | African American Coalition of Howard County | Maryland Poor People’s Campaign

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Note – the information above is from a May 21st press release.

On March 24th the County Executive announced the following:

  • Howard County Announces Implementation of Body Worn Cameras in Fiscal Year 2022 (Read More)

The Baltimore Sun reported the following on May 17th:

  • Howard County Executive Ball amends proposed budget, giving more to schools and delaying police body camera program (Read More)

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Scott E