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Cincinnati police: Body cameras were a change for the better

WCPO police body cameras.png
Posted at 6:51 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 08:31:51-04

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story inaccurately stated the reason for the automatic recording on the body cameras. WCPO regrets this error.

On Wednesday, more than a year after Cincinnati police adopted one of the most advanced body camera systems in the state, Lt. Steve Saunders said it’s been a change for the better.

According to him, body and dashboard camera recordings can be some of the most important evidence in catching suspects and in building community trust in police.

“They’re very, very helpful, and they’re also helpful from the transparency standpoint of letting the public know what transpired,” he said. “They’re better educated, better informed and they can make better assessments for themselves.”

In especially serious situations, higher-ranking members of the department can view a live feed from a field officer’s camera.

Saunders said having video of each call can help police dispel misconceptions about a particular arrest or interaction, too.

“If all you have is what is produced or provided from the public's perspective on social media platforms and they're sharing videos, that can confuse people,” he said

CPD’s technology cost roughly $24 million, more than double other local departments’ entire budgets. That might be why only 183 of Ohio’s 900 law enforcement agencies have body cameras for their officers, according to Gov. Mike DeWine.