DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Dayton City Commission approved a contract to purchase body cameras for the Dayton Police Department Wednesday night. This was the first recommendation from a police reform working group created in June 2020.
Five police reform commissions were created after the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minnesota sparked protests across the nation, including in Dayton.
“That out roar caused us to take an inner look a strong look at some of the things that we’re doing. That’s why we developed this whole task force to look at how we’re addressing the policing and community relations,” explained Jeffrey J. Mims Jr. a Dayton city commissioner and co-lead of the “Use of Force” working group.
Mims says the contract will amount to around $47,000. They are continuing a contract already in place with Axon Enterprises which provides dash cameras for the Dayton Police Department. Mims also says there are already about 20 to 30 cameras in use for experimentation.
“We’ve been in the process of experimenting with some of these things. We’re one of the few large cities that doesn’t have body cameras,” said Mims.
Now that the contract is approved, the group’s next steps are to create a policy for the use of body cameras.
“We’re basically going through the language the verbiage of the policy and we’re comparing that with departments around the country in seeing what we can improve our police department,” explained Willis Blackshear Jr., Ohio House of Representatives member representing the 39th district and the other co-lead of the “Use of Force” working group.
Blackshear says that Dayton Police officers are collaborating with the group to come up with the best policy.
“The police chiefs who actually deal with this work every day may have a different outlook on things than people who aren’t police officers,” said Blackshear. “We all feel included. All of our voices are heard through it all so we all have been putting our input in and making positive change for our city.”
“It’s just one more step towards improving the trust in our community with regard to police relationships,” said Mims. “It gives us that extra leverage of information and data about what is actually happening at police stops.”
Mims says he doesn’t have a time frame yet for when the police officers will all be fitted wtih body cameras. However, the move is supported by Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.
“I think this is just one great step that we’ve taken when it comes to police reform and you’ll see many more. But we’re very serious about activating these issues that the community has said is such a priority,” said Whaley.
For more information on Dayton’s police reform efforts, click here.