Residents meet to question, share concerns about Cleveland police body cameras

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CLEVELAND - As Cleveland police prepare to roll out more body-worn police cameras, residents get a chance to ask questions and raise concerns.

Hundreds of Cleveland police officers began wearing "body cams" in February of this year. Wednesday night, they met with residents at the Collinwood Recreation Center on Lakeshore Boulevard to explain how the cameras work and to answer questions.

"How do you know what time they're gonna turn it on for sure and what rights you have if it gets erased or they don't have the tape," said one resident.

"If the unit has called in or they've been called to respond to anything, it should be cut on then, so that nothing's missed out. So that we'll know everything that we can possibly know regarding an incident," said another resident.

Cleveland police say officers do have to turn them on from the time they get an assignment until the time they conclude the assignment.

Last year, the U.S. Justice Department ruled that Cleveland police officers have a pattern of unnecessarily using excessive force.

Police believe body cameras will create greater transparency when it comes to citizen complaints about alleged police brutality.

"Just days after the cameras rolled out, there was an officer-involved shooting that ended in a fatality, that seems like that would be the perfect opportunity to demonstrate transparency and the effectiveness of body cameras by releasing that, but I know that public records requests have been filed and those tapes still have not been released," said another resident at the meeting.

"I think it's a great idea, I think it's good on both sides for the civilian and the policemen," said Cleveland resident Bobbi Sallade.

"The technology is new, but it's really terrific and it's only gonna get better," said her husband Bob Sallade.

"You've got to have black policemen or you've got to have white policemen that understand black culture and I think that the money would've been better spent in community policing and community education," said Cleveland resident Akil Hashim.