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Ohio equipping prison, parole staff with body cameras

The goal is to complete the rollout throughout the first half of 2022.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction announced Thursday that the process of outfitting prison and parole staff with body cameras is underway.

Director Annette Chambers-Smith said the first phase of implementation started in December and included training and deployment of approximately 550 body cameras in all of Ohio's prisons.

“These cameras will supplement our existing stationary camera systems and will help to capture areas we otherwise may not be able to see,” said Chambers-Smith. “This is ultimately about safety, transparency and accountability for everyone who works or lives in our prisons.”

The plan includes the deployment of an additional 4,550 cameras which ODRC says will be assigned to specifically-identified prison posts and individual parole officers in the Adult Parole Authority.

The goal is to complete the rollout throughout the first half of 2022.

In June 2021, Chambers-Smith announced a pilot program to test the cameras.

The first phase of the pilot program ran through July 30 and included the evaluation of equipment from two vendors. The second phase, which ran from Aug. 9 to Oct. 1, evaluated two different vendors’ equipment.

On Thursday, officials said the prison system chose to go with Axon.

According to ODRC, the body camera systems, including equipment and storage, will be funded through a combination of federal CARES Act money approved by the Controlling Board, grant funding from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance, and DRC’s operating budget. 

The systems are expected to cost approximately $6.9 million the first year and approximately $3.2 - $3.3 million the following four years. 

   

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