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Police cameras should be mandatory [Letter]

The recent article regarding the use of cameras on the bodies of police officers offered an in-depth insight into exactly why we need such technology across the state, especially in Baltimore ("More police now sporting cameras on their bodies," Jan. 4)

As you reported last September, I have pre-filed legislation (months before a costly public safety plan called for it) that will be heard during the upcoming legislative session that calls for the state to require the use of these devices in hopes of balancing the civil rights of officers with the human rights of suspects. We have witnessed far too many unanswered questions coming from routine police interactions with the public — sometimes resulting in the physical harm and/or death of civilians and officers — to neglect the discussion of having innovative technological advancements helping to protect the civil liberties of our citizens and officers.

The nationwide statistics consistently show a drastic decrease in both the false reports some choose to bring against our hard-working men and women in uniform, as well as an unwarranted and overly aggressive law enforcement officers inflicting harm on our citizenry. This technology will help us regain the trust of a department that sacrifices their lives in order to protect our person and property, reduce the amount of costly civil case settlements that overwhelm local governments (which is the highest single yearly expenditure for the City of Baltimore) and bring relief to those who are fearful of any interaction with officers that are perceived to be acting as if they were living in the "wild west."

I look forward to a spirited debate regarding my bill this session and hope we can make Maryland a leading example of responsible public safety nationwide — starting with the enforcement of this legislation.

Del. Frank M. Conaway Jr., Baltimore

The writer, a Democrat, represents District 40 in Baltimore City.

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