CHPD to deploy body cameras among officers
Before the end of March, officers in the Traffic Safety Bureau of the Cleveland Heights Police Department (CHPD) will begin wearing body cameras to record their interactions with the public.
The CHPD has enough cameras to equip all officers on duty, but they will be put into use in two phases, according to Police Chief Jeffrey Robertson.
The department has approximately 105 officers, one-third of whom are on duty at any given time. The Traffic Safety Bureau represents about 40 percent of the force.
The cameras will be deployed first among officers in the Traffic Safety Bureau because they are in most-frequent contact with the public, Robertson said. That is expected to take place by mid-March. The second phase, which hasn't yet been scheduled, will put the cameras on all remaining on-duty officers.
"These are nice cameras; they're simple and durable," Robertson said. They'll be particularly useful in documenting investigations, complaints against police officers, and use-of-force situations, he noted.
Each camera is smaller than a pack of cigarettes and clips onto the officer's shirt or tie. Sliding the lens cover to one side turns the camera on.
Robertson said that the policies covering use of the cameras have already been written, and the officers are being trained. While the cameras themselves were delivered in December, the docking stations that charge them and automatically upload their contents at the end of each shift had not arrived as of mid-February.
So in the first phase, traffic safety officers will manually upload contents via USB port to the onboard computers in squad cars. When the docking stations arrive, the rest of the cameras will be put into action.
Cleveland Heights resident Bob Rosenbaum is co-chairman of the Heights Observer Advisory Committee, and is responsible for its advertising sales and market development.