The Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to reject a bill that would have required all police in Maine to wear body cameras.

The bill ignited a lively debate earlier this month, when law enforcement officers, even those whose departments use body cameras, testified against the bill. They said it would have unintended consequences and represented yet another unfunded mandate on county and city governments.

Advocates for the measure, including a woman whose son was shot and killed by York County Sheriff’s deputies who responded to a domestic disturbance in Arundel in May 2017, said it would not only protect suspects but also law enforcement officers by providing a clear record of any incident involving the use of deadly force. Opponents of the bill, including the Maine Municipal Association, argued that the decision to put cameras on police officers should be left up to local officials.

Though branded “ought not to pass” by the committee, L.D. 636 still faces votes in the House and the Senate.

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 713-6720 or at:

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