109 Ohio PDs receiving $4.7 million in state grants for body cameras

49 agencies will be getting body cameras for the first time; 60 more will use the funding for updates


By Olivia Mitchell
cleveland.com
        
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority and Euclid Police Department are among 109 law enforcement agencies across Ohio receiving $4.7 million in grants to start or maintain body camera programs.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the grants on Monday as part of the Ohio Body-Worn Camera Grant Program. Forty-nine law enforcement agencies will use the money to buy body cameras for the first time, while another 60 will upgrade technology such as computer equipment, software, and video storage, DeWine’s office said in a news release.

Up to two-thirds of all Ohio law enforcement agencies have not been using body cameras, partly due to the high costs of equipment and video storage, the release says.

Phoenix Police Department Sgt. Kevin Johnson demonstrates the new Axon Body 2 body camera to fellow officers as another precinct gets their cameras assigned to them Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in Phoenix.
Phoenix Police Department Sgt. Kevin Johnson demonstrates the new Axon Body 2 body camera to fellow officers as another precinct gets their cameras assigned to them Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Funding from the program will help agencies purchase about 1,700 new body cameras, the release says.

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“Body cameras have quickly become a necessary tool for modern policing,” DeWine said in the release. “With these grants, more than four dozen law enforcement agencies that have never had body cameras before will be able to invest in this technology to help protect their officers and offer transparency to the public.”

Body cameras collect video evidence of everything from routine traffic stops to fatal shootings. Advocates said they provide a clear account of officers’ interactions with members of the public, including incidents when they are accused of misconduct.

The CMHA police department will use its $120,275 grant to provide body cameras to its officers for the first time, the release says.

The CMHA did not have body cameras or dashboard cameras when an officer fatally shot Arthur Keith on Nov. 13, 2020. Police said Keith pointed a gun at Officer James Griffiths, then took off running before Griffiths shot him in the back.

Months later, the Ohio Attorney’s General’s Office ruled that the shooting was justified. Investigators also released surveillance video of the shooting from a camera attached to a nearby CMHA building.

The Euclid Police Department is receiving a $122,388 grant for its own body camera program, the highest amount for any agency in Cuyahoga County.

Euclid police told cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer in 2017 that the department did not distribute body cameras to all of its officers. The department did release body camera video from a supervisor who arrived on the scene after an officer fatally shot Luke Stewart, a 23-year-old man who was asleep in his car when police received a call about a suspicious vehicle. The AG’s office later ruled the shooting was justified.

Other Cuyahoga County agencies who received grants to start new body camera programs include the Gates Mills, Moreland Hills, Valley View and University Circle police departments.

Here’s a full list of Ohio agencies receiving money to create or maintain body camera programs:

Ocjs Bwc Grant Awards 2022 by PG Edi on Scribd

©2022 Advance Local Media LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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