Several Tri-State departments to receive grant funding for body cameras — but will it be enough?

Funds go to Hamilton, Butler, Clermont departments
WCPO police body cameras.png
Posted at 8:15 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 23:37:42-05

BATAVIA, Ohio — Local law enforcement officials say a new grant for body-worn cameras is both exciting and concerning. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday that $4.7 million in grant funding would go to 109 law enforcement agencies to pay for the launch or maintenance of body camera programs.

Here’s a breakdown of which local agencies will receive funding:

Hamilton County:

  • University of Cincinnati: $60,428.20
  • Newtown: $24,712.63
  • Reading: $30,501
  • North College Hill: $30,194.25
  • Forest Park: $30,151.10

Butler County:

  • Hamilton: $81,776
  • Oxford Township: $31,451.38
  • Oxford: $10,546.60

Clermont County:

  • Clermont County Sheriff’s Office: $188,498.41
  • Milford: $87,896.26
  • Loveland: $12,940
  • Williamsburg: $11,140.04

Clermont County Deputy Chief Christopher Stratton said the grant will be used to outfit 72 deputies with body-worn cameras. Stratton said the cameras will be a big benefit to the department as they help by providing evidence in trials and training scenarios for new recruits.

The funding comes with a caveat, though. The $188,498.41 their office will receive is only a fraction of what the department had requested. Clermont County Sheriff’s Office asked for more than $620,000 to cover the costs.

Over the next five years, the agency is looking to invest a total of $827,000 into its body camera program. That will include 72 signal sidearm units for automatic camera activation when a weapon is drawn, unlimited cloud storage, body camera and docking station hardware refreshes every 30 months, GPS and live-streaming capabilities, redaction software and metrics software.

While some smaller departments — like Williamsburg and Goshen Township — received nearly all the funding they requested, many received a much smaller portion than originally anticipated.

Newtown Police requested more than $60,000 from the state, and received half that amount. Police Chief Tom Synan said the amount they will receive could cover expenses for the first year, but he may have to go to village council to ask for additional funding.

Officials acknowledge there will be start-up and ongoing costs with body-worn cameras. For some smaller local departments — cost has been a key reason as to why they don’t currently have any cameras. The use of body cameras is not mandated in Ohio, with the state saying around two-thirds of all law enforcement agencies in the state do not have the program because of cost. Police officials say they are hoping to be able to add another tool for fighting crime, but unsure if they can afford it long-term.

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