Baltimore County finishes outfitting 1,400 police officers with body cameras

Baltimore County Police have completed training about 1,400 officers and equipped them with body-worn cameras, officials announced Tuesday.

The county began outfitting officers with the cameras in July 2016 with the goal of having the program implemented by Oct. 1 of this year.

Initially, the cameras were to be rolled out by 2018, but County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and then-Police Chief Jim Johnson accelerated the program after criticism for incidents including the fatal police shooting of Korryn Gaines in 2016. The shooting of Gaines was not recorded on body cameras.

Since the first officers started wearing cameras, the county has handled more than 250,000 recordings covering 45,000 hours of video footage.

The first five years of the program is expected to cost $7.1 million, including $1.25 million for the Axon Flex cameras and equipment and another $5.9 million for maintenance and storage.

In 2017, seven people have been shot by county police officers — three of them fatally — in five incidents. Parts of each of the incidents have been captured on body cameras, but the moment of the shooting was not recorded in every case.

Going forward, the program will cost about $1.6 million annually, which includes officer training and employees who manage the program.

The body-camera program is paid for with money from red-light and speed camera tickets.

pwood@baltsun.com

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