Local activists weigh in on new Cincinnati Police body camera technology

Local activists weigh in on new Cincinnati Police body camera technology

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati police officers on Tuesday became some of the first in the country outfitted with new technology: Axon body cameras, which automatically activate when officers draw a weapon or turn on their lights and sirens.

Police said the upgrade will provide the public with a sharper view of police/public relations.

“It just creates a whole other level of transparency for the community, for the judicial system, for anybody,” executive assistant police chief Teresa Theetge said.

NAACP First Vice President Joe Mallory believes body cameras are a useful tool, but they don’t guarantee justice.

“When the public sees something that’s egregious and horrific on video, it really gets everyone’s attention,” he said.

Cincinnati officers’ new Axon Body 3 cameras come equipped with GPS tracking and the ability to livestream. The new technology will cost the city $24 million over the next 10 years. Officers said they see the investment as one designed to reduce errors.

“Our officers should be focusing on the threat they’re dealing with, the threat to themselves or the community, and ultimately a safer officer is going to make the community safer as well,” Lt. Steven Saunders said.

Mallory said he’s seen cases where video evidence doesn’t change the dynamics or outcomes of police-involved shootings.

“It happens all over the country where you see video evidence and then we can’t get a jury to see the same thing everyone else sees,” Mallory said.

He thinks de-escalation techniques also need to improve. However, he said he’s optimistic these new cameras might help prosecute all who commit crimes, including the police.

“With the body cameras, hopefully, you know I’m thinking positive when it comes on, if they have to pull their weapon it’s going to protect everybody. It’s going to protect all involved,” Mallory said.

The $24 million contract includes all the necessary upgrades to make sure they’re working, including automatic upgrades each time the officer plugs in.

Source link