A statewide body-worn camera mandate and a uniform policy for their use by law enforcement officers would be the result of legislation introduced in the Delaware General Assembly.
The bill filed Thursday (HB 195) would require law enforcement officers and certain employees of the Department of Correction and the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families to wear a camera and to use it when interacting with the public.
The Council on Police Training would be tasked with creating regulations and use of body-worn cameras by all law enforcement officers in Delaware.
“Body-worn cameras have the ability to be a game-changer in police-community relations. They greatly improve transparency and accountability while providing increased protection for both the police and the community. This is why in speaking with various police agencies, it is evident officers want body cameras as much as the public,” Representative Sherry Dorsey Walker, D-Wilmington said. “This legislation is the result of a collaborative effort between the community, police, Department of Justice and lawmakers. I’m grateful to all of the entities for working together so that we can realize one of the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus’ Justice for All Agenda priorities and implement universal body camera usage throughout our state.”
“Everyone agrees that body cameras improve transparency, trust, and accountability. That’s why one of my top priorities has been equipping every police officer in our state with a body-worn camera. And it’s why we spent the last year working with police and advocates to make this a reality,” Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings said. “It’s been no small task, but thanks to the work of people across our state — including advocates, police chiefs, prosecutors, and legislators who have championed this cause — Delaware is on track to implement statewide, universal body cameras. This is smart policy. It’s time to get it done.”
According to the sponsors, about half of Delaware’s 46 law enforcement agencies already use police body cameras.