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Officials Weigh In on Controversial "Cop Cam"

"We just need to know what's going on, what's transpiring. We don't need people saying that police officer did something to them that they didn't do, and we have a record of it."
FREDERICK, Md. - Conflicting reports of what happened during several high-profile deaths in police custody in Baltimore City has prompted a delegate to introduce a controversial bill in the Maryland General Assembly. Baltimore City Delegate Frank Conaway Jr. introduced a bill in committee last month requiring police officers in Maryland to wear cameras on their body.

"We just need to know what's going on, what's transpiring. We don't need people saying that police officer did something to them that they didn't do, and we have a record of it. It might not be a record where you can hear what transpired, but you'll certainly be able to see what transpired," Conaway (D) said.

The cameras would capture video but not audio.

The Frederick City Police department has several body cameras for investigations. Chief Thomas Ledwell says he likes the idea of the bill but thinks it would be difficult to actually put in place.

"I think there's a lot of issues that need to be worked out first before we mandate that we go in that directions, issues including where we're going to come up with the money to fund it, as well as privacy issues, and evidence issues for court," Ledwell said.

Ledwell says he'd like to see how the program works in other departments to iron out the kinks before a law is passed in the state.

"I think ultimately, law enforcement is going to go in that direction where we all wear cameras," Ledwell said. "Whenever you can get an interaction or evidence on camera, it's going to be better evidence."

Several large police departments, including the Los Angeles Police Department, have recently started using body cameras for patrol officers.

"It's good for the citizens, and it's good for the police officers," Conaway said. "It's going to stop a lot of litigation."

The committee hasn't voted on the bill yet. You can read it by clicking here.
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