Police: body cameras best for police, community

Body cameras being considered and used by local police departments. (WDTN, Beairshelle Edmé)

XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) – Earlier this year, the Xenia Police Division had a decision to make.

Events in Ferguson, Missouri;  Baltimore, Maryland; and North Charleston, South Carolina would later influence official’s choice to make a big purchase.

“This camera mounts right here to this– depending on what the officer prefers, but so far most of them are using this clip and the camera rests right here in the chest so we get a pretty good view of everybody’s face,” Captain David Pazynski demonstrated to 2 NEWS’ Beairshelle Edmé while explaining the function of the device.

The body camera also picks up audio.

Captain Pazynski says the division’s 35 cameras along with the storage and analysis system costs about $35,000.

State funding, the Edward Bryne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG), helped the city pay for the device and system.

“We want to be as transparent as possible,” the officer detailed. “We want our officers to be safe and we want our community to be safe.”

Pazynski later told Edmé, “I have to say the majority, if not all, of our officers want the cameras.”

Asked why that is the case, the captain pointed to, “history,”

He elaborated and described cruiser cameras as part of that history. The captain says officers felt protected by them.

These same men and women in blue believe these body cameras will play the same role.

Footage will be saved for 90 days, unless needed for evidence or for proceedings in an ongoing case.

Officers can turn the body cameras on and off; however, anytime an officer is interacting with someone, the camera is expected to be on.

The exception is if a cop is dealing with a sexual assault or domestic violence victim.

says that’s, “because those are very personal encounters with people.”

Officers can also turn them off if discussing a situation with another officer.

Even with these exceptions, police say residents and their officers are better off with the cameras, than without them.

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