Expect to see big changes in the coming months in Cincinnati, Ohio, where the police department has just announced that it will begin rolling out body cameras for law enforcement officers as soon as possible.
"This will allow us to make the streets safer," said City Manager Harry Black in a press conference announcing the new initiative. "It will also allow us to reinvigorate our commitment to transparency. As I stated a year ago, the mayor and the council charged the administration with creating a model, best-in-class body camera program… I believe we have hit the mark."
The benefits of police body cameras have been confirmed in study after study and example after example. In San Diego, for instance, complaints against police officers fell 40.5% after officers began wearing body cams; use of police "personal body" force fell by 46.5%; and the use of pepper spray fell by 30.5%, according to the City Council's Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee report in 2015.
Likewise, a 2012 survey of 785 federal, state, and local law enforcement professionals, sponsored by PoliceOne and TASER International, found that 85% of respondents believed that body cameras could reduce the numbers of false claims made about police misconduct. Plus, respondents believed the benefits of police body cameras could also reduce the likelihood of litigation against agencies.
Veteran Cincinnati Officer Orlando Smith agrees.
"I think [the camera] will help us in many different situations," he said. "I've always worked in some of the higher-profile areas where we see a lot of regular runs for shootings, stabbings, and shots fired… I think this will be beneficial for all the officers."
Cincinnati is just the latest city to embrace the benefits of police body cameras, along with many other metropolitan areas where safety of both citizens and officers is the utmost priority. As of 2013, around 75% of police departments surveyed did not use police body cams, but those numbers are rapidly turning around as the technology becomes more affordable, adaptable, and in-demand.
The first of Cincinnati's eventual 700 body cameras will be deployed in the Downtown and Central Business Districts, with more roll-outs in the months ahead for a safer and better-protected city overall.
To learn more about the benefits of police body cameras, or to find affordable body camera solutions, contact 10-8 Video today.