COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State Highway Patrol has been ordered to purchase more than 1,500 body cameras to outfit every trooper in the state, according to a news release from Governor Mike DeWine's Office.
The release states DeWine directed the OHSP "to invest in body cameras to better protect Ohio's troopers, aid in crime scene and accident scene documentation, and support the Patrol's ongoing commitment to public transparency."
A total of 1,550 body cameras are being ordered, as well as 1,221 car systems that will work in conjunction with the cameras. Anytime a trooper activates their lights and sirens, the body camera and in-car cameras will start recording simultaneously.
"The patrol has been using in-car cameras for decades, but as technology continues to advance, body cameras have become an essential tool for policing," DeWine said. "By investing in these cameras, we're not only giving our troopers the tools they need to better protect the public, but we're also giving the public another reason to have confidence in the professionalism of the Ohio State Highway Patrol."
Cameras will be distributed to troopers starting this month alongside the installation of the car systems. Completion of the car camera systems is expected to be wrapped up by May 2022, state officials said.
"Today’s announcement is another example of our commitment to transparency," said OSHP Superintendent Col. Richard Fambro. "Our troopers have been working in front of a camera for over 20 years. The addition of body worn cameras is an enhancement to our current video capabilities."
The new cameras will cost around $15 million over the next five years. It will be paid out of the agency's operating budget, state officials said. The cost will cover the cameras, installation and maintenance, as well as storage and operational costs.
"Body-worn cameras have become a key tool for law enforcement in recent years to accurately document arrests, critical incidents, and other interactions with the public. The cameras also allow for detailed documentation of crime and crash scenes, enhance the accuracy of incident reports and court testimony, and help to improve community-police relations," the governor's office said.
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