You’ve likely seen video of police officers behaving badly, and also of the men and women in blue enduring abusive behavior on calls. Now, in the city of Ashtabula, it can all be caught on camera. Today, we take a closer look at the body cameras being used by police in Ashtabula County.
Police officers push for body cameras to protect their reputations and their jobs. Jim Timonere, Ashtabula City Manager, says the cameras help, “only the officers but the public… it’s not a he said, she said… when different accusations come up or even when officers are praised for their work… we can use that as training tools for other officers”.
With the City Council’s stamp of approval, the Ashtabula Police Department is spending nearly $105,000 for a body camera system after testing it out in the field. Timonere tells us, “…with everything going on with law enforcement and community relations I think it’s important to have access to a system like this”.
Body cameras will fill the void left behind by outdated dash cam’s. And these body cam’s sync up with officers’ portable radios and have built-in microphones, a new tool to ensure officers are acting appropriately and to reduce the potential liability officers face from allegations of misconduct.
Robert Stell, Ashtabula City Police Chief, says, “frankly, we do get accused of things and we find later not everybody’s being honest about what officer said or did and when we do have recordings often it’s different than what we’re being accused of”.
And in the long run, the addition of body cameras to the force may help put more criminals behind bars since the video can be used as evidence in court. “And other times it will deter people from misbehaving. You’ll get a little more cooperation because they know they’re being recorded,” says Stell.
As far as our area is concerned, Lawrence Park officers have body cameras, and Erie Police are equipped with dash cameras to keep officers and residents safer.