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Columbus police begin rollout of new bodycams and dashcams

The Columbus Division of Police is officially rolling out its new system, which will cost taxpayers nearly $19 million.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The new body camera program through the Columbus Division of Police includes body-worn cameras that are activated automatically, cruiser cameras that quickly scan plates and video recall abilities that can go back as far as 24 hours.

“We look forward to this process of rebuilding trust and transparency,” said Director of Public Safety, Robert Clark.

The police department is officially rolling out its new system, which will cost taxpayers nearly $19 million.

In January 2021, Mayor Andrew Ginther announced body cameras would be upgraded in the wake of the police-involved shooting death of Andre' Hill. The officer charged with his death was wearing a camera, but it wasn't activated. 

Now, 1,152 new body cameras and 249 cruiser video systems have been deployed. That's just about halfway to the total rollout of all the new gear, which should be done by spring.

The new body cameras connect with the officers' cruisers. They will start recording, for example, when a cruiser's lights and sirens are activated, or when the vehicle reaches a high rate of speed or is involved in a crash.

"That safety feature is there to ensure that the body camera also captures video if the officer doesn't have the time or the capability to turn that camera on,” said officer Robert Layton. “Part of the agreement that we have with Axon is unlimited storage. There's no limit to how video, how much digital evidence we can store."

And when it comes to digital evidence, the contract with Axon also includes a citizen evidence collection feature. 

“Building that trust and that transparency with the community that they can be involved in an integral process to keeping our community safe,” Clark said.

Training remains underway to get the rest of the cameras deployed.


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