COLUMBUS (WCMH) — It’s been more than a week since Gov. Mike DeWine called on the Ohio State Highway Patrol to outfit all troopers with body cameras, but it’s not an easy undertaking for several reasons.
“The use of body cameras by law enforcement is a best practice, and it’s essential for transparency purposes,” DeWine said on June 17 when he announced his plan for police reform.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is used to being on camera, with cruisers already outfitted with a dash camera, so the transition to being videotaped will be an easy one.
“Troopers have been using some type of video system to document our interaction with the public as well as evidence for over 20 years,” said Staff Lt. Craig Cvetan. “This isn’t something that’s new to us and the body camera’s just going to add an additional level of transparency to our operations.”
That additional level will cost money, though, with the question being how much? Cvetan said OSHP is currently looking at vendors who can pair dash cameras and body cameras so audio will match on both cameras.
“When you look at providing public records and redaction, that simplifies that process for us,” said Cvetan.
OSHP is also hoping to put a body camera in every cruiser so those who share a car can share a camera. This could save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“We’re only talking about outfitting about 1,000 marked cars, as opposed to outfitting 1,400-plus troopers,” said Cvetan.
The extra video will need more storage, so the OSHP is looking at Cloud-based storage systems, an additional cost for the project. Ultimately, OSHP isn’t sure how much this will cost, or where that money will come from.
“That’s something we have to consider, but ultimately, what we want to do is select the system first and… figure out what the cost is going to be before we figure out how we want to fund it,” said Cvetan.
The process could take some time, according to Cvetan. He said right now, OSHP is looking at vendors but then will need to test the cameras for a few months before implementing them across the state.