body cameras

body cam picture

Canton City Council will decide Monday night whether to accept about $59,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice for new police body cameras.

The cameras will replace existing units that are almost five years old. The package also includes software that is more technologically advanced. Department spokesman Lt. Dennis Garren says it will make it easier to edit videos.

photo of downtown Canton, Ohio

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, January 8:

photo of Akron Beacon Journal

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, September 5:

  • Akron voters to decide moving primary election;
  • Tennessee-based company to operate closed Massillon health center;
  • Two icelandic air careers cancel flights from Cleveland;
  • Two-tiered housing exists in Cleveland after financial crisis;
  • Toldeo police get new body cameras;
  • Metro RTA announces new executive director;
  • Cooling stations open amid heat wave;

Akron voters to decide moving primary election

The emergence of police body cameras has caused several communities to resolve their own questions about what is and is not public record. Lawmakers are introducing a bipartisan bill to provide a final answer.

The bill creates several exceptions to public records laws for body cameras, such as if the video shows inside a private home, private business, or shows the victim of a sex crime.

photo of Ray Tensing

Jurors in the retrial of former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing for the shooting death of Samuel DuBose saw the body camera video of the shooting during the first day of proceedings.

photo of cleveland police chief Calvin Williams

The monitor overseeing Cleveland’s police consent decree says his team cannot approve parts of the city’s proposed policy for body cameras, nor its plan for equipping officers. WCPN’s Nick Castele reports the monitor is asking for changes.

In a court filing with the judge overseeing the consent decree, the monitoring team laid out its many criticisms of Cleveland’s equipment plan.

Niraj Antani

As more Ohio cities purchase body cameras for their police departments, questions are being raised about whether material recorded on them should be available to the public. 

Republican State Rep. Niraj Antani says most footage recorded on police body cameras is subject to public records requests, but he thinks there should be some limitations.

“For the first time, we are going to have these videos entering private homes so I think this needs to be tackled before it gets out of control.”

Police officers in Ohio’s biggest cities are either already using or about to use body cameras. And experts are trying to get ahead of potential problems by talking about the policies that should be implemented. 

One big question for local leaders on the body camera issue is when police officers must turn them on and when to turn them off. Larry James, general counsel for the national Fraternal Order of Police, says there must be strong policies in place so police officers can still do their jobs.

  The Ohio Supreme Court today heard from attorneys in two cases revolving around the question of whether police body camera footage is public record. 

The first case made nationwide headlines when a white former University of Cincinnati police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man during a minor traffic stop. In the other case, state troopers initially refused to release footage of a high-speed chase. The Cincinnati Enquirer sued.

Photo of Boyce
The Ohio House of Representatives

Some Ohio cities already have police body cameras and others are considering getting them. 

As Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports, some state legislators want to make sure all cities have the same rules for using police body cameras.

Democratic Rep. Kevin Boyce says body cameras can be very helpful for police forces and as more around the state get that technology, he says a new bipartisan bill he’s co-sponsoring would make sure they have standards on how to use it.