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Government & Politics

Akron's Mayor says New Police Body Cams Are Insurance for Police and the Public

recharge and download array for camcorders
Tim Rudell
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WKSU
Police body-cams in their download and recharging docks at headquarters

Akron is in the final phase of its million-dollar plan to fully equip its Police Department with body cams.  At a news conference today, Acting Police Chief Kenneth Ball and Mayor Dan Horrigan said the last of the specialty camcorders are on their way from the manufacturer. 

Mayor Horrigan and Chief Ball
Credit TIM RUDELL / WKSU
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WKSU
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Acting Police Chief Kenneth Ball say the cameras follow up on a commitment to police transparency.

The announcement came as the November election is nearing with the city seeking .25 percent increase in the income tax to pay for, among other things, improved police services.  Horrigan was asked about the timing. 

“It highlights the importance of Issue 4.  I don’t necessarily want to have that conversation about if it doesn’t pass.  But we’ve made a commitment to use these., so we’re going to make it work either way.”

The mayor said the progress with body cams shows the city is making good on promises to use tax dollars to keep the police force well equipped. But he said the project is more important because of the transparency it brings to local law enforcement.

“We’ve made the commitment for that. This is how we need to do it.  And I applaud all of our partners in being able to help—in getting community input.  And everybody benefits on this."

"Nobody likes to buy insurance, but this is insurance; and this is insurance for the community and all of us to say this is going to work and we’re going to use it this way.”

Lt. Mark Farrar, Akron PD
Credit TIM RUDELL / WKSU
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WKSU
Akron Police Lt. Mark Farrar demonstrates the type of body-cam Akron offices will wear.

Akron Police Lt. Mark Farrar is in charge of equipping all of the officers with body cams.  He demonstrated one that he was wearing and talked about what’s next. 

“The first phase was a hundred cameras. And then the second phase was just ordered last week, which is an additional 145.”

In 2013, Akron began studying options for equipping all officers with cameras as well as recording, storing and retrieving the video.  The million dollar cost will be spread out over five years.  And a federal grant of about $330,000 helped.