Baltimore police improve video technology in transport vans


— Baltimore police unveiled a newly outfitted transport van fleet on Tuesday that features video recording technology and divided seating compartments.

“It’s an opportunity to get better,” Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith said. “With the support of the mayor and the council allowing this to happen, it’s something among may other things we’re doing to make policing better.”

Freddie Gray suffered a fatal neck injury in April 2015 after being shackled without a seat belt in a police van. His death spurred vigorous protests as well as riots that rattled Baltimore.

The city bought 10 new vans and retrofitted 13 others, all of which feature new video recording technology and divided seating compartments, Smith said.

Previously, cameras only provided a live feed of the custody compartments at the rear of the van. Police officers in the van were able to see that live feed, Smith added.

Now, material from those cameras will be archived on the police department’s cloud technology, Smith said.

The new transport vans will have three compartments for detainees and include seat belt straps inmates can hold while handcuffed.

The configuration allows police to separate up to 10 detainees based on situations like adults and juveniles being transported at once.

The Fleet Management Division of Baltimore’s Department of General Service purchased the 10 new vans through a 20-year fleet renewal plan. The funding was in the city pipeline for the 2016 fiscal year.


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