The Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to announce the implementation of a Body Worn Camera Pilot Program for agency personnel. This program is guided by a policy that incorporates the best practices of the departments around the state that are successfully utilizing this tool. The objectives of the Body Worn Cameras are to enhance deputy safety, facilitate evidentiary integrity, acquire audio and visual information, enhance courtroom testimony proceedings and assist with internal inquiries. The Body Worn Cameras may also be useful in capturing events such as demonstrations and civil disorder and may be utilized to provide impartial basis for self-critiques, field evaluations and recruit deputy training.
Body Worn Camera Technology has been tested and utilized for nearly a decade throughout the U.S. Over the past year, there is an increasing interest in the use of body cameras by police. The use of body-worn cameras has become the accepted “best practice” for the law enforcement community as well as the public.
A great deal of research has been done the use of BWCs by Police. Some of the findings include:
• Strengthening police/community relationships through increased accountability, transparency and trust
• Providing better documentation of evidence, which is more objective, accurate and reliable.
• De-Escalating confrontations between deputies and members of the public.
• Aiding in the training of deputies to strengthen and improve deputy performance and ultimately increase police officer safety.
On July 1, 2015, the Maryland legislature enacted legislation to permit law enforcement agencies to develop and implement Body Worn Camera Pilot Programs so that police officers could begin wearing these recording devices. Recognizing that we are law enforcement professionals, representing a variety of criminal justice disciplines, we saw a need to participate in this pilot program to better serve the public. Please be assured of our continued dedication to service as we strive to improve the quality of life for all citizens of Wicomico County.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact Lieutenant Rich Wiersberg @ 410-548-4891.