Resolution Urges Statewide Police Body-Cam Policy

DOVER – Recognizing the value of video evidence from body cameras to both law enforcement and citizens alike, the House today voted in favor of a resolution that encourages state and local agencies to formulate a uniform body camera policy for use by police agencies across Delaware.

House Concurrent Resolution 46, sponsored by Rep. Larry Mitchell, asks law enforcement groups to collaborate with the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Attorney General’s Office to examine questions related to the deployment and use of body cameras. Specific issues include which officers would be required to wear cameras, when the cameras would be required to be turned on, how and when videos would be made available to the public, and the manner in which the videos would be stored.

Rep. Mitchell, a retired New Castle County police officer, said a consistent, statewide body camera policy will help build trust between police and the public they serve.

“Video evidence helps law enforcement be more effective, accountable and transparent, which is what all our police agencies in Delaware strive for,” said Rep. Mitchell, D-Elsmere. “Body cameras for our officers are on their way, there’s no doubt about it. We want our law enforcement community in Delaware to get ahead of that curve, sort out the logistical questions and develop a strong policy that can be implemented across the state.”

Across the country, police departments that use body cameras have been able to collect better evidence while at the same time reducing incidents and complaints related to officer use of force.

In Delaware, Wilmington and New Castle County police are working toward equipping officers with body cameras and Middletown police have worn cameras for the last two years.

HCR 46 now heads to the Senate for consideration.