COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Columbus city council passed an ordinance at Monday night’s council meeting to enter into a contract with Watch Guard, a body camera vendor out of Allen, Texas.
“It is something that is a priority for me and it’s a priority for council,” said City Council President, Zach Klein. “We are eager to get this passed tonight. To get the ball rolling so our officers have body cameras.”
Klein says it’s about being transparent and maintaining accountability for the police department and the community.
“From the safety perspective, a body camera helps restore faith in the criminal justice system. It protects police officers and it protects people of the community,” says Klein.
In the weeks to come, the city plans to have officers wearing the new equipment. Starting with 70 officers in the traffic unit. Then gradually requiring all officers to wear them by the middle of 2017.
“Every officer, 1,400 plus, will all receive their own body camera,” said Klein.
The total cost to roll-out the body cameras is $9 million. This will cover the training, operations, licensing fees and accessories over five years.
“The money for the cameras will be coming out of the general fund,” said Joe Lombardi, director finance and management.
In the first year alone, Lombardi says the city expects to spend $500,000 on the new devices.