Akron police applying for grant to equip more cruisers with cameras

September 29, 2009

Akron City Council Monday night authorized the city to apply for a grant and allocate matching local funds to purchase audio and video equipment for all Akron Police cruisers that come in contact with citizens.

If the city receives the $143,750 Justice Assistance Grant from the Ohio Office of Criminal Justices Services and provides a 25 percent match of nearly $36,000, the department will be able to purchase 36 additional in-car video camera systems. The new vehicles outfitted would then total 57, including every officer-manned patrol car and vehicles belonging to the department’s SNUD (Street Narcotics Uniform Detail) and Gang Units.

The legislation passed, offered by Public Safety Committee Chair Jim Shealey (At Large), achieves long-held objectives to increase transparency and accountability on the part of law enforcement and citizens, he said.

“Outfitting all of the patrol and special unit vehicles with cameras helps the officers document their actions in the event a citizen tries to dispute what really happened during an encounter, and lets the citizens know that the encounter will be captured on video,” Shealey said. “Equipping the vehicles this way can only encourage more transparency and trust between officers and civilians.”