Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announces plan to put bodycam on every state trooper

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
Posted at 3:32 PM, Nov 23, 2021

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Governor Mike DeWine announced a plan Tuesday to put a bodycam on every state trooper, with an immediate rollout beginning Tuesday.

All bodycams will sync with existing car camera systems and record anytime troopers use lights and sirens, DeWine said.

"The body cam will be a new angle to go along with the dash cameras and the rear seat cameras," Fambro said. "It's an integrated system that operates all cameras when operated and has been the case since we've had onboard cameras. It's important to have a system in place where troopers can concentrate on their duties when the lights are on."

DeWine said troopers provided at the Ohio State game last weekend were already wearing the new cameras. The costs of the cameras, servers for the video storage and other costs will be $15 million and come out of the State Patrol's budget.

For the last two decades, OSHP cruisers have had dash cameras and rear seat cameras. The new body cameras will be integrated into one system with the dash and rear seat cameras.

"The new system will go far to help troopers better serve the public," DeWine said. "It will allow for better documentation of crash scenes, crime scenes and traffic stops. It will be an important tool for police and public relations and enhance public trust."

DeWine said the cameras would begin rolling out today and will go in order by the following OSHP posts: Columbus, Wilmington, Cambridge, Piqua, Jackson, Cleveland, Bucyrus, Warren, Findlay and then the patrol headquarters. DeWine said every post in the state should have its body cam systems by May 2022.

DeWine also asked lawmakers to set aside $10 million in the state budget for local law enforcement agencies unable to afford the technology to apply for grants to purchase body cameras.

"What's holding a lot of small departments back is simply money and we're trying to deal with that," he added.

The Ohio General Assembly allotted $10 million for local departments to purchase body cameras in June. DeWine said there was $16 million in requests from local police agencies once the first half of the money was allocated. DeWine said the amount of requests showed the need for technology and he would be talking to the Ohio General Assembly about more funding.

There are also plans to dish out millions more to help police squash violent crime.

"I am very concerned about gun crime," DeWine said in October. "The truth is whether it's Cincinnati or whether it's Dayton or Springfield or Cleveland or Akron or any number of our great cities: the vast majority of violent crime is caused by repeat violent offenders, people who have done it before. It is a relatively small number of people."

While he believes better funding police best solves the problem, others see better options.

"The crime rate isn't going up because people are getting out of jail pre-trail," said Shameka Parrish-Wright, a pre-trial service advocate. "There's other factors that lead to that."

Research by her colleagues with the Bail Project in Washington found that for 86% of clients battling drug addiction, 76% are unemployed and 44% are experiencing homelessness. It's why the group pushes for better pre-trial housing assistance, job training and substance abuse treatment for people arrested.

"We're trying to get on the front end of this train that's headed toward mass incarceration because that's what happens a lot of times when people are held pre-trial," Parrish-Wright said.

"We have to go after them," Governor DeWine said of repeat violent offenders. "We have to take them out and when we take them out you're going to save lives."

Since October, the governor's office ordered $50 million spent to rebuild or expand six Ohio jails and authorized 153 Justice Assistance Grants to support 140 police agencies across the state.

They also reeled in 31 applications for a new Violent Crime Prevention grant program, run by the Ohio Department of Public Safety. The program has $5 million to help successful applicants afford more overtime for officers, purchase technology and analytical tools needed to implement "promising or proven crime prevention strategies."

DeWine's office specifically named Place Network Investigations, a tactic Cincinnati Police used to lower crime three-fold in a 4-year period between 2015 and 2019 in Westwood.

Complaints about recent shootings led to CPD launching a gun crime intelligence center in June. The department has recovered almost 1,400 illegally owned guns so far this year, according to CPD statistics.

April 2021: Cincinnati Police - Body cameras were a change for the better
WCPO: Butler County Sheriff applying for body cam grant
April 2019: Ohio law restricts access to some police body cam footage