COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The City of Columbus is launching the next generation of body worn cameras for its officers.
The latest technology was unveiled by city leaders Tuesday morning, providing a first-hand look at how they’ll help police better serve the community.
“Experience has taught us time and time again just how powerful and important footage from these cameras can be,” says Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther. “When discerning precisely what transpired, who did what, when particular actions are called into question, and sharing the footage as quickly as possible with the community.”
They’ve become a fundamental tool for policing in the 21st century, and for city leaders, the new body worn cameras for Columbus police will further build trust and transparency within the community.
“Camera footage has proven invaluable in holding our officers accountable and administering justice,” Mayor Ginther emphasized.
At the time, only because of the camera’s lookback feature were we able to get a glimpse into the moments before Coy pulled the trigger.
The city says enhanced audio and visual features will now provide a clearer picture into the confusion and chaos of an incident.
“It reduces motion and blur. It utilizes four microphones, which balance themselves to capture clear audio,” details Public Safety Director Robert Clark. ”
Among other capabilities, it also increases the lookback feature to two minutes of both video and audio and can also recall up video up to 18 hours after an incident.
“The arrival of this next generation technology in Columbus is a win for accountability and transparency. It’s a win for building trust with our community and it’s a win for officer safety,” Director Clark boasts.
The new cameras will activate automatically in certain situations — like when lights or sirens are turned on in the cruiser, or if the cruiser accelerates to high speeds. They also automatically synchronize with cameras in the cruisers.
The city’s $19 million investment includes more than 2,105 cameras — enough for every officer in the division and 450 cameras for each vehicle in the fleet.
And with calls for changes to policing growing louder in recent years, the city says they are both improving technology, and increasing accountability.
“The NAACP and people of color across the country are demanding reform and bold action in rethinking policing,” reminds Nana Watson, the President the NAACP Columbus. “And today, I’m so happy to say we have succeeded.”
The city says that they will begin equipping officers with the new cameras this June, the entire rollout is expected to be complete by next spring.
In addition to the city program, on Feb. 8, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a $2.5 million contract for all 565 certified deputy sheriffs to have body cameras and a policy to govern their use.