Congressman wants body cameras for all police agencies

What the body cameras would look like on an officer. (Provided)
What the body cameras would look like on an officer. (Provided)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Some lawmakers are calling for all police departments nationwide to have body cameras and they want the federal government to foot the bill.

Many agencies have the dash cam technology, but officers say the body cameras can tell a better story of what actually happened.

"They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I say a picture is worth a conviction," said Sergeant John Ferguson with North College Hill. The North College Hill Police Department has been using the body cameras for the last few years.

Sergeant Ferguson says they've used this technology successfully in disproving officer allegations, and convicting criminals.

"I find that there's multiple sides to a story. One side is to one extreme, one side is to the other extreme and somewhere in the middle the truth lies," said Ferguson.

Ferguson says the cameras are manually controlled by the officer. When activated, it has already recorded the previous 30 to 60 seconds.

"A lot of times when an officer hits the button to start recording the critical components of an event have already happened," said Ferguson.

Related: Cincinnati Police to begin testing body cameras

Beth Hartman says cases like the one in Ferguson, Missouri are a perfect example of why all departments need this technology.

"We've heard so many stories between the cop and the guy that passed. If he had a camera on his chest I guess you would see exactly what those two encountered together," said Beth Hartman.

A California congressman wants every police agency to have this luxury.

"We're a smaller agency so we can't afford to go out and buy expensive equipment for everyone," said Ferguson.

The Burbank congressman is calling for the Department of Justice to finance the expense. But it'll cost a pretty penny. Each camera costs $300 to $700.

The North College Hill police department is getting brand new body cams at the beginning of next year. Right now they're testing different models to see what they like best. One upgrade is they will be high definition and have more memory.

Earlier this month, FOX19 NOW broke the story that Cincinnati Police is testing out the body cameras. About eight officers will wear the body cameras as part of a30-day pilot program.

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