DeWine directs OSP to equip every trooper with body cams

The total cost of the program is $15 million.
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 5:10 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WXIX) - Body cameras are coming to Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Tuesday all OSP troopers will be outfitted with the cameras by May 2022.

The program will distribute 1,550 new body cameras and 1,221 new in-car camera systems beginning this month.

The rollout will begin in districts with the oldest current in-car cameras. That means the Columbus district and the Wilmington district (which covers Greater Cincinnati) will get the body cameras first—in November and December of this year, respectively.

OSP has been using in-car cameras for decades, according to DeWine. “But as technology continues to advance, body cameras have become an essential tool for policing,” he said.

“By investing in these cameras, we’re not only giving our troopers the tools they need to better protect the public, but we’re also giving the public another reason to have confidence in the professionalism of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.”

The cameras will link to the new in-car systems. Simultaneous recording will begin when lights and sirens are activated in the vehicles.

DeWine says the camera systems better protect the troopers, aid in crime scene and accident documentation and support OSP’s transparency goals.

“Our troopers have been working in front of a camera for over 20 years. The addition of body-worn cameras is an enhancement to our current video capabilities,” said OSP Superintendent Col. Richard Fambro.

The total cost for the camera systems will be around $15 million over the next five years. The money will come from OSP’s operating budget.

That cost includes equipment, storage, installation, maintenance, training and other operational costs.

A $10 million state funding program was launched in September to support law enforcement agencies with costs associated with body cameras.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office last month accepted a grant through that program to procure body cameras. Sheriff Richard Jones for years was staunchly opposed to body cameras, and even in accepting the grant he voiced concerns about the long-term cost associated with maintaining the cameras and storing the footage.

The Cincinnati Police Department was among the first departments in the nation to pursue body camera systems., first mentioned as a goal in the landmark 2002 collaborative agreement. The city successfully secured funding in 2014 and rolled out the camera systems the following year.

The department entered into a contract with the nation’s leading maker of police body cameras in 2019. It announced updated camera tech in 2020.

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