COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Franklin County is getting closer to equipping its deputies with body cameras, but some say more needs to be done for there to be meaningful change.
Others on Monday said the effort is too little, too late.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office had hoped to have the body cameras in use sooner but said there have been technology and infrastructure delays. The office hopes the cameras are out on the street by the end of 2023.
During a community meeting Monday night, some said they want to see more change.
“You all’s body cameras are not enough,” said Tamala Payne. “We need policy change, we need reform.”
Payne is the mother of Casey Goodson Jr., who was shot and killed by Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Meade in December 2020.
“You think because Casey is murdered that implementing these body cameras means something to us or this community,” she said. “It doesn’t. He (Meade) should have had a body camera then.”
Payne spoke directly to Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin and the county commissioners, saying she wants changes to go beyond the addition of body cameras.
“These body cameras are not enough,” she said. “They’re not enough. Absolutely not enough.”
The majority of public comment at the meeting about the incoming cameras was people criticizing the county and sheriff’s office, calling on them to do more. The attorney for Goodson’s family, Sean Walton, was one of the speakers.
“Body camera implementation in 2022 is late,” Walton said. “It’s slow and so clearly, we’re behind the eight ball. So yeah, we want to sit down, talk about real reform, real change, and changing the culture of the sheriff’s office and that’s what this is about.”
Baldwin said the body camera program is not a fix for everything but said it’s a place to start. Board of Commissioners President Erica Crawley also said more needs to be done.
“What it really boils down to and tonight’s a good example is we still need to have the community input,” Baldwin said. “We need to work with the community and be partners.”
“We’re in agreement; it’s not enough,” Crawley said. “More can always be done and we’re open to what more looks like with the community’s help and input.”
This was the second of three meetings the county has had to show the community how the cameras will work and answer questions about them. The final meeting is set for next month.