Body cameras and teen jobs highlight City Council

MD-City council-check presentation _2x

Dorchester Banner/Dave Cannon
Tim Ailsworth presents a $2500 check to Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley and Cambridge Police Chief Daniel Dvorak as a grant for new police body cameras.

CAMBRIDGE — Generous deeds and preparations for a traditional colorful regatta led the Council agenda on Monday night. To begin, Tim Ailsworth, executive director of the Law Enforcement Insurance Trust, known as LGIT, and interestingly pronounced “legit,” awarded a grant of $2,500 to the Cambridge Police Department for the purchase of body cameras.

The organization LGIT believes that body cameras worn by police officers can have a direct impact on law enforcement liability in two ways: one, it verifies if an officer has behaved appropriately, and secondly, if his behavior has been inappropriate, the camera will make it easier to settle without expensive lawsuits and court costs. That will impact on the payments insurance companies would have to make.

Next up, Omeaka Jackson of Cambridge came to inform the council and the public via the news media that her organization, Harvesting Hope, has devised a Teen Job Bank for young people in Cambridge. The organization will compile a list of services that teens can provide from babysitting to mowing and painting. Teens 13-19 in Dorchester County will be required to fill out forms for the Job Bank and be registered.

Both residents and businesses can contact teens for jobs, negotiate fees, and pay the teen directly. Harvesting Hope will not get a piece of the action because Ms. Jackson pays her costs out of her own pocket. If a Dorchester resident is interested in hiring a teen, he/she can contact Harvesting Hope at 204 Cedar St., Ste. 102 in Cambridge. The council looked on the effort approvingly. Ms. Jackson is well-known in the community for services her organization provides to individuals and families.

The hundreds of powerboats that come to Great Marsh Park for the Cambridge Power Boat Regatta will be back in July. Allen Nelson of the association says the 103-year-old race is the country’s oldest active regatta. The Council approved his request for use of Great Marsh Park on July 23 to July 26 for the Eastern Pro Inboard Championship Event, with some earlier time for set-up on July 20. The commissioners unanimously approved pit area parking, a noise variance, and city trash cans and truck for sanitation. The races draw 300 participants and some 3,000 people who will come to watch the boats fly at top speed with their huge plumes of white water trailing behind.

Drivers will be interested to note that the council approved the termination of the contract with Optotraffic, the company that installed the speed cameras. The company has already suspended operations with removal at some sites. A state law changing the speed limit meant fewer tickets and less profitability. Councilman Donald Sydnor, who voted “No” on the termination, said the alternative, a return of police officers and tickets plus court costs, will be a bigger burden on the city.

Routine purchase orders for Emergency Services and the Rescue Fire Company totaling $37,000 were approved as was $20,000 for an upgrade to LED fixtures for City Hall and Council Chambers. Amazingly, Delmarva Electric reimburses 90-95 percent of the cost. Why they do it is for another day.

Free newspapers that are not picked up and become litter were again the topic of public comment. Dave Cannon of The Banner, the Commissioners, and City Attorney Robert Collison are exploring solutions to an issue that entails a conflict with the noble principle of freedom of the press and the ignoble practice of allowing a free newspaper to become unsightly litter.

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