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Government & Politics

Akron Police Department Ready to Roll Out Body Cams

photo of Axon body camera
Axon chest-mounted video camera

Three years in the making, and with a million dollar price tag, Akron’s new police body camera system is about to go into service. 

Ken Ball
Credit M.L. Schultze / WKSU
Akron Deputy Police Chief Ken Ball

The cameras download automatically to a secure, searchable, cloud-based archive.  City Council approved $944-thousand for 245 bodycams and a contract for system management. Earlier Akron got a $358-thousand federal grant for the project.  Deputy Police Chief Ken Ball says a timely hook-up with Kent State University researchers helped that happen.

"A part of selling ourselves as an attractive partner for the federal government to receive those grant funds we connected with Kent State University.  They are doing research that is going to be published on the impact of body-born cameras in the city of Akron.  I think that that relationship made us a more attractive grant funds candidate.”

The Deputy Chief says training will include both how and when to use the cameras. 

Training the trainers is the first step

"The week of July 10th we’ll start training employees on to be trainers for the rest of our department. Then we’ll utilize them when we start our deployment to go to the shifts and  train the officers on the shifts who will  actually be wearing the technology”

Akron PD motorcycle
Credit Tim Rudell / WKSU
Akron Police motorcycle

All patrol officers, field supervisors and department personnel interacting with the public on police calls will have cameras. The video and audio from the cameras will be automatically saved to the cloud.  Another feature of the system is that when an officer activates his or her camera, those of nearby officers can be activated too—generating multiple angles and views.