- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

CINCINNATI (AP) - The city’s police chief wants its 600 uniformed officers equipped with body cameras and is seeking funding to cover the cost, saying he’s satisfied with the results of a seven-month test.

Officers were skeptical at first but ended up seeing the need, said Chief Jeffrey Blackwell. The cameras “increase transparency and professionalism,” he said.

The estimated cost ranges from $500,000 to $1.2 million, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Tuesday (https://cin.ci/1zIYrqr ).

Blackwell is visiting Washington, D.C., this week to ask for financial help, and Cincinnati lawmakers are pledging support to find the money.

“I want to make sure we continue to stay in the cutting edge like we have,” said Councilman Christopher Smitherman.

Cincinnati Police Specialist Yvonne Gutapfel was a tester who remains unconvinced, saying the cameras don’t record 360 degrees. She is also concerned about victims’ privacy. Under current public records laws, the recordings would likely be public.

The local police union president also isn’t convinced, saying money needs to be spent on other technology such as in-car cameras.

“This needs to be an informed decision,” said Kathy Harrell, Fraternal Order of Police president. “There is a big misconception that they will catch every part of what an officer does and that’s not the case.”

Police departments are increasingly turning to the cameras to document their actions.

President Barack Obama has asked Congress to provide $263 million for 50,000 body cameras and training for local police departments.

Cleveland plans to spend $1.6 million for cameras for 1,000 front-line officers.

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Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, https://www.enquirer.com


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