(WKBN) – It’s Governor DeWine’s goal to have every police officer in the state equipped with a body camera, but the cost of equipment and storing the video comes with a price tag some departments can’t pay.
DeWine announced plans for meaningful law enforcement reform in the state Wednesday. One of the areas he addressed was body cameras.
Most police cruisers in Liberty Township are equipped with dash cameras. They’re used to record interactions like traffic stops.
The video is stored at the police department.
However, right now, officers aren’t wearing body cameras.
DeWine says he’s asked the general assembly to find out if the state can help local departments with the cost associated with buying equipment and storing the video.
“I’m asking the legislature to examine what help the state can provide to other local agencies in regard to body cameras,” DeWine said.
Liberty Township Police Chief Toby Meloro says doing so on their own would be pricey, but if the state is willing to help, he’s on board with it.
“The initial cost is what I’m concerned with, and then you have to have someone that takes care of that, you know, and when you have manpower shortages it’s difficult,” Meloro said.
Hubbard Township is one Department that has been using body cameras for five years.
They’ve had their own financial problems, but made adjustments to their video retention policy to cut costs and keep the program going.
Sergeant Greg Tarr spearheaded the grant that allowed Hubbard Township Police to start their body camera program.
“Initially, the backup was running us about $500 a month. It was getting pretty costly,” Tarr said.
So, they moved to in-house video storage.
They made changes to how long video is stored. For example, an incident for use of force is kept for seven years, an arrest for three years and a basic police report for 30 days.
“We had to adjust the retention times,” Tarr said. “We had no choice if we wanted to keep the camera program.”