COLUMBUS (WCMH)- Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine laid out his plan Wednesday for public safety and criminal justice projects as part of his state budget plan unveiled earlier this week.
The budget proposal includes $10 million that would fund a grant program for body cameras across the state. At this time, only about two-thirds of the state’s departments have body cameras.
“The public has more trust in the criminal justice system when officers are wearing body cameras,” DeWine said. “They encourage transparency and can help ensure accountability.”
The grant program would prioritize the agencies without cameras, but others would be eligible to apply. The money can go to camera equipment, video storage or personnel that may be needed to help.
“The problem is cost and the cost is what has slowed increase in body cameras dramatically,” DeWine said.
The governor said the idea would be for these agencies to also accept the state’s protocol, but Rep. Erica Crawley said more needs to be done to ensure these cameras are used properly and that officers are held accountable.
“I think that we, as a legislature, need to stipulate what happens and there should be some penalties when police officers, or peace officers do not turn on their body cameras,” Crawley, a Columbus Democrat, said.
The plan also includs $13 million for the Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center. It would also include $8 million dollars to fund a Violent Crime Reduction Grant Program. This program would be used to help local authorities create “Crime Gun Intelligence Centers.” The grant could also be used for programs such as gunshot detection technology and community initiatives.
A $1 million line in the budget will go to law enforcement recruitment. This will help agencies “in recruiting and retaining qualified, diverse law enforcement officers.”
The Governor’s full budget proposal will now go to the Ohio legislature where it will be reviewed.