Baltimore Sun community papers video intern Cara LaMaina, who is a broadcast journalism student at the University of Maryland, College Park, recently spent some time doing a ride-along with a Prince George’s County police officer to see how they are enforcing the new state laws on using cell phones while driving. Here is her report and some background on how she reported it.
Sirens are blaring and lights are flashing all over the roads in Prince George’s County. Police officers have begun fighting the spreading addiction to texting and driving. As of October 1, a new law went into effect making it illegal to use a handheld device while driving in Maryland. After talking to Officer Shawn Brome it became clear that police departments are not taking it lightly.
I spent the afternoon with Officer Brome, and in that time he handed out about 5 citations or warnings for use of a cell phone behind the wheel. Nearly ever driver denied using a phone, but he said drivers should know it is not something that can be hidden. After just a few hours I was spotting drivers on their phones, and I don’t have the training that officers do.
Watch the video:
I spent around 7 hours in the car with Officer Brome and went home with just over 6 hours of footage. I was rolling almost the whole time because I didn’t want to miss a texter or a good comment from Officer Brome. This made it difficult to edit because I had so much to work with, but I was happy to have too much instead of not enough.
In addition to having the footage from my handheld camera, I also used a GoPro to shoot head-on footage of Officer Brome. Including this footage, I went in to edit my 1 minute and thirty second package, with 8 hours and twenty-two minutes of footage.