COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Columbus Division of Police took to Facebook Monday to explain why some officers have tape on their uniforms where many expect a badge or body camera to be placed.
The live-streamed video is in response to social media posts criticizing the use of tape on uniforms.
Lt. Duane Mabry appeared with two bicycle officers to explain the tape placement and other things about the uniforms.
Lt. Mabry explained that the protective gear worn by bicycle officers during the protests consists of downhill mountain biking equipment made by Fox Racing. It’s different from what a bicycle officer might wear while riding through a neighborhood.
According to Mabry, the tape is used for identification purposes within the police division. It allows supervisors to quickly identify the officers under their command.
“It is merely, for our own purposes, so we can have an idea of who is supposed to be where and doing what,” said Lt. Mabry.
Since the gear is not made for police use, it does not have a good location to place a body camera, explained Lt. Mabry. He said some officers have tried to place cameras below the chest plate of the gear, but it’s not a secure fit and allows the camera to be easily damaged.
When an officer is wearing a normal uniform, the body cameras are pinned to the uniform or held in place magnetically.
Mabry said at least one body camera has been destroyed by thrown objects over the last few days.
Earlier in the day, CPD tweeted a picture showing where some officers have placed their body camera.
Lt. Mabry also addressed the lack of name tags on officers while at downtown protests. He said that has been a standard practice for several years.
“A couple years ago, we had a protest with Antifa and the anarchists at the Statehouse. And one of those group members went up to a state trooper, saw his name, and doxed that officer, and went to their private residence,” said Mabry. “We cannot risk officers’ personal homes from these people that want to have nefarious activities.”
Mabry said he will work on getting officers’ badge numbers written on their protective gear with a marker. Mabry said that if anyone has a complaint about a specific officer, to take a picture of the officer, ask a supervisor (with a gold badge) for an officer’s badge number, or make the report using his own badge number.
“My name is Lt. Duane Mabry. My badge number is 5076. I am in charge of every single bicycle officer in the city of Columbus. If there is an issue with a bicycle officer, you use this badge number right here when you call it in, and that’s my responsibility,” said Mabry.