FOP wants City of Cincinnati to negotiate with union over body cameras

Rollout started Wednesday
Posted at 3:46 PM, Aug 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-10 10:41:18-04

CINCINNATI – The city started rolling out body cameras for Cincinnati police Wednesday, and the union wants a say in the matter.

The FOP can't stop the rollout, but it may go to court to try to force the city into collective bargaining, union president Daniel Hils indicated in an interview with WCPO Tuesday afternoon.

"We have been working on this with our attorneys for quite some time," Hils said. "We find more and more cities are collectively bargaining with their police unions about the use of body cameras.

"There's nothing saying that we're going to stop it, but we are considering what legal action to take now that we have not been asked to sit down at the bargaining table and collective bargain about this."

The city said officers in the Central Business District would be first to get cameras Wednesday. The plan calls 700 officers to have cameras by the end of the year and the entire force to be equipped by mid-2017.

In the past, Hils said the FOP sees advantages and disadvantages to body cameras and he expected officers to get a pay boost.

"Body cameras is just part of that transparency, that openness.  Now, while it has value to the community, it does add more difficulty and stress to the officer's job -- being monitored while you're out doing every piece and part of your work -- it's something that most people would not choose to do in their work.  It's something that we're going to have to live with and it's something else that needs to be recognized and needs to be recognized when it comes to salary," Hils said previously.

Over in Glendale, the police department knows all too well how body cameras are used in investigations.

Officer Josh Hilling was cleared after a video showed him shooting an assailant along I-75 after the man came at him with a knife.

Officer Stephen Cordes says his department has welcomed the cameras.

" I think that one really speaks for itself. It showed everything from the time the officer arrived all the way up until the time when the incident was over."

Hils says even with body cameras, the public will believe what they want to believe.

"It is something that most people who sit around and watch a video later on, a Monday morning quarterback, has no idea what it's like to be put under stress, have your heart rate double in a matter of a few seconds because of the adrenaline and everything." he said.

In May, CPD chose TASER's Axon Body 2 model cameras from 12 bids. The rollout was originally scheduled to begin Aug. 1, but it was held up in contract negotiations between the city and TASER.

The cameras and management support system will cost about $5.5 million.

Check out the interactive timeline below to see how the discussion of police body cameras in Cincinnati has evolved in recent years.