Hamilton County Sheriff's Office to get body cams in June

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office to get body cams in June (WKRC)

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio (WKRC) - They're already used by Cincinnati Police, the area's largest law enforcement agency.

Now the second largest agency will be getting body cameras as well. The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office will have the cameras for all of its road patrol deputies in mid-June. Body cameras worn by police officers were becoming more and more common.

More often than not, body cameras support the officer. But sometimes, as in the shooting of Sam DuBose by then UC officer Ray Tensing, he video can lead to criminal charges against the cop. Body cameras were coming to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil said, "The use and wearing of body cameras came to me from the men and women of the sheriff's office. It didn't come from the top down. It came up from the field to us."

The sheriff's office had a body cam pilot program in Lincoln Heights in 2015 for a few months. But county commissioners at the time did not want to spend the money to make that program permanent and expand it to the entire department. Democrats took over the commission in November and commission President Todd Portune said the decision was body cams: yes.

A $125,000 federal grant, plus the same matching amount from the county, will buy 100-plus cameras. There were some additional costs besides the cameras themselves. More employees might be needed to redact certain portions of the video before things were released to the public. However, commission President Portune said those costs were not budget-busters.

The sheriff's office has narrowed seven potential camera vendors down to two. The winning vendor will be named in late April 2017.

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