Police Body Camera

The Ocean City Police Department is working on a plan to equip its officers with body cams, an initiative being pushed by the State of Maryland that must be in place by 2025.

The deadline of outfitting police officers in Ocean City with body cameras by the summer of 2022 is nearly nine months out, but OCPD is still on track and testing equipment in the field.

Police Chief Ross Buzzuro told the police commission last Monday that his department is working with a second camera vendor, which is going “very well.”

Last month, the department worked with the first vendor and on Nov. 12, Buzzuro plans to meet with that vendor to go over follow-up questions and issues that he and staff members encountered during the trial.

“Things are going very, very well,” the chief said. “There’s more to body cameras than meets the eye.”

As the police department continues to test cameras, they must consider battery life, storage, and other factors to ensure the department gets what fits the best.

With the second vendor trial taking place currently, select officers have been outfitted with body cameras in the field.

Once the second phase of trials ends, Buzzuro said, a third trial will begin with another vendor, moving the department closer to deciding which one to go with.

“We’re moving right along,” he said.

Councilman Lloyd Martin agreed with the chief and said selecting a vendor is much more complex than choosing a camera itself. He also said the city needs to look at other areas that could benefit from cameras including the transit buses.

State legislation passed earlier this year requires all police agencies across Maryland to employ body cameras by 2025, except for the State Police, which must have them in place by 2023.

Mayor Rick Meehan said his goal is to have body cameras in place by July.

With the goal in place, and trials in progress, Buzzuro said he will be before the City Council soon with a vendor and all the costs associated with program.

The need for body cameras jumped to a high priority in the resort area after a series of incidents that took place in June.

According to one police report, a group seen vaping on the Boardwalk was approached by officers and told that smoking and vaping on the boards was not allowed. When the two parties walked their separate ways, someone in the group, later identified as Brian Everet Anderson, 19, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, started vaping again and officers asked for his identification.

Everet, the report read, refused to provide identification and he was arrested. He then resisted and was charged with disorderly conduct.

Videos of the incident surfaced online and showed an officer ramming his knee into the ribs of a man who was on the ground, while a separate incident that was captured on video showed officers tase a man.

None of the videos show the entire incident, prompting the department to move quickly on equipping officers with body cameras.

This story appears in the print version of Ocean City Today on Nov. 12, 2021.

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