Citizen complaints against Cleveland police officers have dropped nearly 40 percent since the department began using body-worn cameras in February, reports the Northeast Ohio Media Group. Larry Jones, who is overseeing the body camera implementation, told the City Council Safety Committee yesterday that between January and September 30, the department received 225 complaints against officers, down from 374 during the same period last year.
The underlying philosophy is that officers and the public alike remain on their best behavior and citizens are less likely to file false complaints when they know the interactions are being recorded. In January, the city bought 1,500 cameras from Taser International at a cost of $2.4 million, which included a five-year subscription to EVIDENCE.com, the company’s digital evidence storage and management system. Under police policy, officers are required to record during pedestrian or vehicle investigative stops, pursuits and emergency driving situations, crime or accident scenes, physical violence, civil disturbances, criminal suspicious activity or police use-of-force incidents. Officers also are required to alert citizens that the interaction is being recorded. A victim or witness can ask the officer to turn off the camera.