WASHINGTON INFORMER: A bill that would offer rebates to Prince George’s County, Maryland, residents who buy surveillance cameras has passed unanimously, after the council heard from the parents of a teen shot last year whose killer is still on the loose.
The bill was named after 13-year-old Jayz Agnew, who was shot while raking leaves in front of his Temple Hills home last November. His friends and family were the only ones to testify about the measure.
“We would have been able to, by now, have some leads,” said Agnew’s mother, Juanita. “At this time, four months later, there’s no arrests or no leads in the case. And it’s difficult to think that would have been the same” if someone on her block had cameras, she told the council.
“I was the last person to see Jayz alive,” his father Antoine Agnew said. “I wish I had some kind of cameras.”
He said he felt “so, so safe” when he moved to the neighborhood seven years ago.
“Think about your own children,” he went on. “Just as my son was just raking leaves in the yard and got killed, just think about your child possibly in the same situation — that you can turn your back and a life can be taken from you within the blink of an eye.”
The legislation provides rebates up to $200 for camera purchases, and $100 for subscription costs to store the footage.
District 2 Council member Wanika Fisher said the cameras at her home helped police arrest someone earlier this month.
“I recently had an armed robbery happen right in front of my door,” she told her colleagues, saying she was able to send footage right from her phone.
“It’s absolutely constant,” she added. “It’s very constant and present in District 2 and the officers used all the camera footage that I had around my property.”
But while the law was enacted by the council, providing the funding for it is a different matter. The council is currently in the budget process and still has to determine how much money to ultimately allocate for the program.
Last week, when County Executive Angela Alsobrooks unveiled her budget for the upcoming year, she warned money was tight and that there wasn’t a lot of room for new spending, since over 80% of the budget was already accounted for with education and public safety spending.
At a council committee hearing about the bill earlier last month, the bill’s main sponsor, Krystal Oriadha, said she hoped to keep it within about $100,000 to $250,000 in the first year of the program, something council chair Tom Dernoga called “eminently doable.”