Frostburg State University Police have 14 new body-worn cameras in their arsenal, and have already seen a shift in campus reaction to police.
University Police received a grant to purchase body cameras to help combat underage access to alcohol and the high-risk use among college students at Frostburg State University.
“When people know they’re being recorded they definitely have a different way of acting,” said Lt. John Ralston, Frostburg State University Police.
The goal within the police force is to improve transparency of their actions due to the current political climate.
“Last semester, we had people when we were dealing with their friends recording us the whole time,” said Sr. Cpl. Roy McKenzie, “which never bothered us. I don’t have a problem with it.”
The reaction from students has been positive on multiple fronts.
“Dealing with someone for an alcohol citation, I’ve never had anyone be belligerent anymore,” McKenzie said. “It seems like it calms them down once they know, because they know we can take that over to the conduct board or it can be used against them in court.”
Starting in august of this school year, officers began wearing the body cameras on their person.
“[The officers] like them,” Ralston said. “They like the fact that when they have them on they feel that the students especially have a different reaction. [The students are] more calm, instead of outraged. [The students] think a little bit more before they react knowing that they are being recorded.”
The cameras are used at all times during anything from traffic citations to knock-and-talks with the campus community.
“Any time they go to any type of call, they need to activate their body cameras,” Ralston said.
The cameras are used at all times except during sexual assault investigations due to privacy concerns.