Cambridge Police Try Out Body Cameras - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Cambridge Police Try Out Body Cameras

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CAMBRIDGE, Md.- Not many people in Cambridge have noticed that for the past several weeks, 36 police officers are now wearing cameras attached to their uniforms.  Police say the small cameras, no larger than a car key, are an important tool for their law enforcement activities.

"Studies have shown that if people know they are being recorded, they are less likely to resist," said Lt. Bruce Jones of the Cambridge Police Department. " We are hoping to have a reduction in resisting arrests.  And it can capture evidence when an officer is at the crime scene, the raw emotions of the persons involved, spontaneous statements from subjects we come in contact with."

The cameras are not on at all times; officers switch them on when they go out on a service call.  Since both parties must be aware that they are being recorded in Maryland, the officer must give a verbal warning.  The following is an example:

"Sir how are you?  My name is Officer John Doe from the Cambridge Police Department. You are being audio and visually recorded. I need to see some identification."

The cameras cost less than $100 apiece, but for now, the department is using them free of charge.   They are on loan from the city's insurance provider.  Business owners who spoke with WBOC say they support the use of the cameras.

"They're putting their lives on the line every day. They need all the help they can get," said Robert Parks.

"For me the bottom line is if you aren't doing anything wrong, you won't have a problem with it.  I think it protects those who protect us," said Morgan Mann.

WBOC reached out to the American Civil Liberties union, who said it is a win-win for both the public and law enforcement. According to the ACLU, the public can be protected from police abusing their power, while police can be protected from false accusations of abuse.
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