WORTHINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) — A unanimous vote postponed Worthington City Council’s purchase of body cameras for its police department.
Monday night’s vote could have approved $55,000 to buy body cameras for Worthington Police Department.But for now, that money stays put in the Law Enforcement Trust Fund.
The fund is money that comes from the sale of contraband the city has confiscated.
The major concern for council members Monday was lack of policies for the use of the cameras and their purpose.
“I really just wanted to have a better understanding of what the purpose of the body cameras really are,” said Worthington Councilmember Beth Kowalczyk, adding that studies are mixed about whether body cameras minimize police misconduct.
Other council members have concerns about who will have access to the footage, citizens’ privacy, and the cost of storage for the video.
Some people in Worthington have different views on the importance of police-worn body cameras.
“It shows an objective reality of what happens in altercations,” said Brady Bookless who works in Worthington.
Steve Lappert added, “I think it’s added protection for citizens and the police department.”
Lappert does live in Worthington, but he spends a lot of time there.
He was a little surprised to learn Worthington officers didn’t wear body cameras and feels in today’s climate, police-worn body cameras are a necessity.
“I think there ought to be a uniformed policy with all of our police departments at least statewide,” said Lappert.
A spokesperson with the city said the body camera motion is not due to the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, but added the movement brought about the awareness of the need for body cameras in Worthington.
The Worthington City Council can bring the issue back for a vote in the future. Many of the council members said they want to be able to review body camera policy well before they bring the issue back for a vote.