A long-awaited trial deployment of about 150 body-worn cameras by the Baltimore Police is the first step in what could be a revolution in transparency at the department, but Commissioner Kevin Davis’s initial reluctance to release the regulations under which police are supposed to deploy the cameras was troubling. More troubling were some of the orders themselves, which indicate that cops are supposed to remember to turn on the cameras whenever they believe an arrest is imminent, not necessarily whenever they approach a citizen. This all but guarantees that the cameras will often be off when police fire their weapons or use other force. Officers will also be allowed to view the footage before making a statement to use-of-force investigators, which is contrary to the recommendations of the city’s task force examining body camera policies. So the picture, so far, isn’t clear.

Alex Fine
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