State Rep. Kevin L. Boyce (D-Columbus) today announced plans to introduce legislation requiring law enforcement officers to wear body cameras and keep their body and dashboard cameras running during interactions with the public. The bill would also create a 15-member panel to examine police trainings, tactics and operations.
“The trust between law enforcement and the people they serve and protect is critical to the safety of our officers and the integrity of our criminal justice system,” said Rep. Boyce. “Adopting body camera requirements and building upon the dialogue we have had these last months is a step in the right direction. I look forward to continued conversations with law enforcement, community members and elected officials about how we can get this right in Ohio.”
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Boyce’s proposal would make Ohio the 30th state to consider requiring body cameras this year. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that close to one-third of the nation’s 17,000 police departments are using body cameras. The federal agency is also making $20 million available to for local law enforcement to help purchase and monitor body-worn cameras as part of a new pilot program.
Boyce’s effort follows the release of recommendations from the Ohio Task Force on Community-Police Relations, which called for increased oversight and training for law enforcement officers. Gov. John Kasich created the task force in the aftermath of civil unrest across the country following the police shootings of several black men including Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, John Crawford, Jr. in an Ohio Walmart and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland.
“We need to ensure our commitment to foster trust in our communities does not end with a report,” added Rep. Boyce. “By making the oversight committee permanent and putting resources behind this, we reaffirm our commitment to ensure the safety and protection of all Ohioans.”