Laurel Police embrace body cams

LAUREL, Md. (WUSA9) -- The explosion of violence in Ferguson Missouri may have been prevented, if there was video showing the confrontation between Michael Brown and the police. Such video is being recorded in many place already, including the City of Laurel.

Many officers there wear body cams, some on their body armor, some on their glasses.

Office Don Rohsner told us he likes wearing the camera, and has already benefited from it: "I like it, and I think the guys that don't like it just haven't had it on their heads yet. I know I'm not doing anything wrong out there, I know that if I am doing something wrong it's going to end up a complaint so I prefer to have the camera on. It's actually already cleared me of several complaints."

The cameras have a duel purpose, they protect the public from excessive use of force by police officers, and they also protect the officers from any false charges of use of force. They are especially useful when a citizen approaches an officer or vice versa.

Deputy Chief James Brooks also says the cameras help prevent conflict: " Our officers have come and talk about going into bars where there's a potential fight brewing, officers show up and citizens actually see that officers are wearing cameras, and kind of announce that, and that takes the wind out of the sails so to speak"

Laurel is one of the first Police Departments in our region to use body cameras. Police tell WUSA9 that the cameras are occasionally turned off when an officer is entering a home and the homeowners requests they not record.


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