COLUMBUS, Ohio — Only two-thirds of police departments in Ohio have officers outfitted with body cameras. A new $10 million grant from the state hopes to change that for departments that want cameras but were unable to afford them.
The Ohio Body-Worn Camera Grant Program was passed by the state general assembly in June. It comes out of Ohio's 2022-2023 operating budget and is aimed at assisting police departments with the costs relating to the camera units, video storage and public record management personnel and other expenses. The Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) is administering the grant program.
"Body cameras are beneficial for peace officers and the public because they act as impartial eyes on events as they transpire, but most law enforcement agencies in Ohio don't have them because they can't afford them," said Gov. Mike DeWine. "One of my top priorities has always been ensuring that our law enforcement officers have the tools they need to best serve the public, and this new grant program will help eliminate the cost barriers associated with body-worn cameras and will contribute to a safer Ohio."
The state will accept applications for the grant until Oct. 8 at 5 p.m.
- The Ohio Body-Worn Camera Grant Program will prioritize funding for agencies that have not yet established a body-worn camera program, however, agencies with existing programs are also encouraged to apply. Funding awards will be flexible to meet agencies’ individual needs and is contingent on adherence to the Ohio Community-Police Collaborative's body-worn camera standard. Agencies not yet certified in the standard will have a pre-award condition requiring certification prior to the grant funds being released.
- Law enforcement agencies applying for the grant must also be in compliance with crime statistics reporting, using the Ohio Incident-Based Reporting System (OIBRS) or the FBI’s NIBRS Collection Application (NCA), per Ohio Revised Code Section 5502.62(C)(6).
Currently, body cameras are not mandated in Ohio. State officials said the grant is prioritized for departments that don't have a body camera program yet. However, agencies with a current program are still encouraged to apply for funds.
More information on OCJS grants can be found, here.
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