KETTERING — Body cameras have been delivered to the Kettering Police Department, but no date has been set for street use.
Kettering police are awaiting items from the vendor to be shipped, said Patrolman Tyler Johnson, KPD public information officer.
Street use of the cameras will come “as soon as possible” after installation, testing, training and a policy are complete, he said in an email.
The cameras “will assist KPD in several aspects to include more precise documentation of events in stressful incidents, provide a more clear and visual depiction of events in court proceedings, and will also give the department more accountability and transparency with the community,” Johnson said.
Last fall Kettering City Council approved $236,030 to buy 90 cameras from WatchGuard, records show. The Dallas-based business was preferred over other vendors, in-part, because it also supplied the KPD’s in-car camera system, officials said then.
The use of body cameras and when they are activated has been the source of debate nationally in recent years.
Scrutiny about their use increased last year with the police killing of Black people, notably in Louisville, Kentucky; Minneapolis; and Kenosha, Wisconsin.
A Dayton Daily News 2020 summer survey of 30 law enforcement agencies in Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Warren counties found most local departments that responded did not use body cameras.
Those that already had them then included Beavercreek, Bellbrook, Englewood, Huber Heights, New Lebanon, Xenia and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, records show.
Since then, several jurisdictions have moved to buy them. Among them are Dayton, Moraine, Oakwood, and sheriff’s offices in Miami and Montgomery counties.
While improving transparency and accountability, the devices will also help Kettering police “strengthen our trusting partnership with the community,” Chief Chip Protsman has said.
The move to live use of the cameras “is a multi-step process that we are currently in the installation phase of,” Johnson said.
“We are waiting on further installation to occur until additional items are received from the manufacturer,” he added. “It is unclear at this time when we will have those items.”
Training will be “minimal” because Kettering officers are well-versed with the cruiser cams, Johnson said.
“The primary focus of the training will be how to operate the specific unit and to understand the policy that will govern the use” of the body cameras, he said.
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