A bill to mandate the cameras of the police forces signed in the law

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a group of people around each other

Nate McQueen, secretary of the Delaware Department of Safety, applauds police officers in a ceremony that made police cameras a state law.

Delaware became the eighth state in the country to mandate the use of body cameras by police officers statewide.

Governor John Carney was joined by members of the House Black Caucus, the Association of State Chiefs of Police and the Fraternal Order of the Police when he signed Bill 195 on Wednesday.

HB 195 requires police officers and certain employees of the Department of Corrections and the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families to wear cameras and record their interactions with the public.

The bill requires state agencies to implement the state body worn camera program by purchasing cameras, developing a data storage program, and providing the necessary personnel as soon as funding is available. available, according to the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, Sen. Darius Brown, D -Wilmington.

The rules for the use of body cameras will be established by the Council on Police Training.

The bill garnered unanimous support in the House and Senate when it was passed in June, largely because the legislation had the support of major Delaware police groups, including the Council of Chiefs of Police and the Fraternal Order of the Police.

Carney’s budget, which the legislature authorized in June, allocates $ 5.2 million to implement body cameras statewide.

The bulk of the expense is for data storage and review capabilities.

Patrick Ogden, who is the chief of the police department at the University of Delaware and heads the Delaware Council of Police Chiefs, said in a statement when the bill was passed that all police chiefs in the Delaware are determined to implement the policy.

“They are an invaluable evidence tool in criminal prosecutions, as well as in resolving internal affairs investigations and improving police performance, when used for monitoring and training purposes,” said Ogden said.

Prior to signing the bill, Carney said the bill would help build a relationship of trust between police officers and the communities they serve, especially communities of color.

“I know it will make a difference,” Carney said. “Most importantly, by improving that level of trust, so that we are all safe and for law enforcement to be successful.”

The godmother of the house, Rep. Sherry Dorsey Walker, D-Wilmington, thanked law enforcement for supporting the bill, noting that in addition to forging trust between law enforcement and communities of color, body cameras would protect police from false allegations.

“I don’t want officers to have stories about them that aren’t true,” said Dorsey Walker.

Senator Brown said the bill was the hallmark of the House Black Caucus’ “Justice for All” program, which was introduced last June in light of the George Floyd shooting in Minneapolis.

Brown praised law enforcement officers who are “ready to run into danger” as “many of us shun him.”

Nate McQueen, secretary of state in the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, said his agency “will work with all of our partners to fully implement the statewide body camera program and ensure the safety and security in all Delaware communities ”.

Attorney General Kathy Jennings called Delaware the “national leader in transparency in our country.”

Her too thanked nearly 50 Delaware police chiefs, who she said support the policy.

Laura Giles, chief of the Elsmere Police Department, said her department would not have been able to set up body cameras without the bill and the public funds that go with it.

“This is something law enforcement has wanted for many years,” Giles said. “I can tell you that even coming from a small department, it cost us dearly”.

Carney dedicated the signing of the bill to Cpl. Delaware State Police Stephen Ballard and Department of Corrections Lt. Steven Floyd, both killed in the line of duty in 2017.

The bill was signed in the same room where the murders of the two law enforcement officers were announced in 2017.


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