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Local activists weigh in on new Cincinnati Police body camera technology

Posted at 9:55 PM, Feb 18, 2020

CINCINNATI — Authorities in the Queen City are some of the first in the country outfitted with new body camera technology. The Axon cameras record automatically when officers draw a weapon or turn on their lights and sirens.

NAACP 1st Vice President Joe Mallory believes body cameras to be a useful tool, but said they don't guarantee justice.

"When the public sees something that's egregious and horrific on video, it really gets everyone's attention," NAACP vice president Joe Mallory said.

Police said the increased technology will provide the public with a sharper image of police/public relations.

"It just creates a whole other level of transparency for the community, for the judicial system, for anybody, " executive assistant police chief Teresa Theetge said.

Cincinnati Police's new Axon Body 3 cameras come equipped with GPS tracking and the ability to live stream. The new technology will cost the city $24 million over the next 10 years. Officers said they see the investment designed to reduce errors.

"Our officers should be focusing on the threat they're dealing with, the threat to themselves or the community, and ultimately a safer officer is going to make the community safer as well," Lt. Steven Saunders said.

Mallory said he's seen cases where video evidence doesn't change the dynamics or outcomes of police-involved outcomes.

"It happens all over the country where you see video evidence and then we can't get a jury to see the same thing everyone else sees," Mallory said.

He thinks de-escalation techniques also need to improve, however, he's optimistic these new cameras might help prosecute all who commit crimes, even the police.

"With the body cameras, hopefully, you know I'm thinking positive when it comes on, if they have to pull their weapon it's going to protect everybody. It's going to protect all involved," Mallory said.

The $24 million contract includes all the necessary upgrades to make sure they're working including automatic upgrades each time the officer plugs in.