Thursday, Sep 20, 2018
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Police & Fire

Toledo police choose company to supply new body cameras

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    Toledo Police Officer Greg Szymanski wears a body camera.

    The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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    Toledo Police Officer Michelle Sterling wears a body camera.

    THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
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Patrol officers in the Toledo Police Department could soon return to using body cameras, although an exact time frame hasn’t been fully developed. 

A company was selected to supply officers with new body cameras after the department’s had to be returned for technical difficulties earlier this year. The company, Getac, will provide body cameras for all field officers, said Lt. Keven Toney, spokesman for the TPD. The cost for the 305 cameras will be covered by a federal Justice Assistance Grant that was previously awarded to pay for the old cameras.

That grant money — $228,000 — was refunded when the cameras had to be returned, Lieutenant Toney said.

The refund did not affect in-car dash cameras that also record video and audio.

The primary issue with the old cameras was with the compatibility of downloading body camera footage and storing that data along with footage from police vehicles and recording devices used for interviews. Eventually the department determined the best course of action was to replace the body cameras.

“We didn’t anticipate having to return all those cameras,” Lieutenant Toney said.

Since the cameras were returned in April, officers have field-tested demo cameras and provided feedback to officials, he said. And before the new cameras are deployed, the department has to incorporate new infrastructure and policies to support their use.

Lieutenant Toney could not estimate when all officers would be outfitted with the cameras.

The use of body cameras would be a benefit to both the officers and to the public, he said. Along with promoting transparency, he said residents will get to see situations from an officer’s point of view, which few people have experienced.

Contact Kate Snyder at ksnyder@theblade.com, 419-724-6282 or on Twitter @KL_Snyder

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