Prince George’s Co. police on track for body camera goal

The Prince George’s County Police Department is on track to outfit every patrol officer in the Maryland county with a body camera. The department plans to have each wearing a body-worn camera by the start of 2021.

According to Mark Magaw, the county’s deputy chief administrative officer for public safety, nearly 400 of the department’s officers will wear body cameras by the end of October.

Magaw told the Prince George’s County Council on Tuesday that 50 officers a week will get body-worn cameras through the end of the year, when all patrol officers will sport the recording device.

By the end of the year, 800 bodycams will have been distributed, Including to officers in the Department of Corrections, the Community Emergency Response Team, and the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office.

The increase in the number of functional body cameras in the county Police Department, Sheriff’s Office and Corrections Department would come from $2.6 million in funding through the county budget.

A large part of the expense comes from platforms that will store all video and make it easier to access the footage.

In March, former police Chief Hank Stawinski promised every patrol officer would be outfitted with a camera. “The goal is to have every uniformed police officer on the street with a body camera by the end of this calendar year. Period. Full stop,” Stawinski said.

The lack of cameras gained more scrutiny after an officer who was not wearing a camera was charged in the January shooting death of a handcuffed man. Cpl. Michael Owen Jr. was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of William Green, 43, of Southeast D.C.

The program remains on schedule — despite Stawinski’s May resignation, following an ACLU report of racial bias and discrimination in the department.

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