Recent officer-involved shootings spark body camera debate - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Recent officer-involved shootings spark body camera debate

Recent shootings have more people discussing the need for police body cameras. (Source: WOIO) Recent shootings have more people discussing the need for police body cameras. (Source: WOIO)

This past weekend, there were two officer-involved shootings within a 24-hour period. When you talk to City Councilman Zach Reed, he points out there was another officer-involved shooting earlier this month.

Reed says Cleveland Police need body cameras now.

"I believe when police officers are being shot at by these thugs, that's an emergency, and they don't have to justify themselves on why they had to do," said Reed.

City Council has already approved the money for the cameras, but police officers may not have the devices on them until the start of the first quarter of 2015.

"How many police officers have to come back and say, 'Well, I had to shoot.' When we know with the body cameras, incidents have gone down by 80 percent," added Reed.

City Safety Director Michael McGrath says more time is needed to properly implement the program, including training officers on the use of the cameras.

"Our concerns are probably tenfold your concerns and I've been working on this project for four years, so there's no one here dragging their feet. We are trying to do the right thing, and we will be deploying the cameras in the first quarter of next year," said McGrath at a meeting of City Council's finance committee.

That means the cameras could be on the bodies of close to 700 Cleveland police officers that patrol the streets on a regular basis, as early as January or, Reed worries, as late as April.

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