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Cumberland Officials Mulling Body Camera System

The Cumberland Police Department has typically between 47 and 50 officers employed at any given time. The camera system, worn in a pocket on the chest, would cost $450,000 spread over five years.

Closeup of a police officer wearing a body camera.
(TNS) - City officials are considering the purchase of a body camera system for police officers, which must be in service by Jan. 1, 2025.

Chief Chuck Ternent and Captain James Burt of the Cumberland Police Department gave a presentation Tuesday to the City Council on a body camera system manufactured by Utility Associates, Inc. which they feel best meets their needs.

The CPD has typically between 47 and 50 officers employed at any given time. The camera system, worn in a pocket on the chest, would cost $450,000 spread over five years.

“It’s a good system and has a lot of great features,” said Ternent.

Made by Utility Associates, the system consists of the Eos body camera, the Rocket in-vehicle monitoring system, and Polaris video evidence software management. In addition to video capture, the integrated system features automatic vehicle location, mobile communications, emergency response and life safety notifications ability.

“The body cameras (purchase), the training (conducted) on them and (getting) it in place takes time,” said Ternent. “We have gone through and looked at a lot of demonstrations and at equipment. The systems offer a lot. It has remote viewing so we can turn the cameras on and watch them in the field. It has things where if you pull your gun out it automatically comes on.

“Let’s say we have an active shooter, we can draw a box on the map and say anyone enters the zone the cameras come on. It comes with all the software you need to share and redact. This is the one we are recommending. I’m asking that we go ahead and allocate the funds to get the project started.”

Burt said the system’s cloud data server will provide enough storage space to operate the system efficiently.

City Administrator Jeff Silka said, “We don’t have a choice, so we should get it in place. Let’s lead from the front. I’m in support of funding the system.”

Cumberland Mayor Ray Morriss, in a Times-News interview, said he is hopeful that grants can be secured to offset the expense to the city.

“The chief has a request out for $100,000 in a grant and we will also be looking at other avenues and other grant and funding sources from the state and Allegany County,” said Morriss. “It’s one of those unfunded mandates that Annapolis came up with.

“We’ll have some more discussion on it going forward. We will check with Frostburg and the county and make sure that it’s the camera system that they are pretty much in tune with getting also. We want to have one camera system for all the departments in the county.”

City officials want to have the funding secured when the 2025 fiscal budget is approved by July 1, 2024.

In other city news, the mayor and council voted to purchase two major firefighting vehicles. They agree to purchase a 2023 Pierce Rescue Truck for $729,000 and a 2023 Pierce Saber Fire Engine for $717,000. The vehicles will be purchased through Atlantic Emergency Solutions with the rescue truck expected in February and the engine in May.

©2022 the Cumberland Times News (Cumberland, Md.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.