How will they work? Cleveland residents get close look at police body cameras

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CLEVELAND- The first shipment of body cameras for Cleveland police officers have been delivered.  Tuesday night, a few dozen residents get an up close and personal look at the new body cameras.

Police officers showed residents how the cameras work, how the data is stored and got their feedback during a meeting at the Harvard Community Service Center.

"What I see on a camera might be very different from what you see," said one resident.

Officers in the fourth district will be the first to get trained on the cameras, starting next week.  Although many residents were receptive to police wearing cameras, they still had many questions about them and how they would be used.

"The cameras actually do no help for the community at all because if I'm the police officer and I don't like to wear my camera, what tells me I'm giving you the true testament to what really happened," said Cleveland resident, Greg Jackson.

"Any time they're in a foot pursuit or a vehicle pursuit, accidents, they're gonna have to record; any time they're on traffic stops, almost any time they're dealing with a citizen, crime scenes, they'll have video footage and interaction," said Deputy Chief Leroy Morrow.

Police said the video will be stored between 90 days to five years, depending on the circumstance.  Evidence for murder and other major crimes will be stored permanently.

"Over ten years, I've been asking for us to move into the 21st century with technology. This technology is gonna be a win-win for both parties," said Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed.

Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, said the cameras may be helpful in some cases, but won't solve all problems. "I think the body cameras are not the answer that everybody's looking for. They're good when you're talking like you and I are, but when you're in the heat of the moment in a foot chase or we call it runnin' and gunnin'; when you're in those types of active situations, the video is very inconclusive," Loomis said.

Cleveland police said after an officer in Rialto, California started using body cams, they saw an 87.5 percent drop in complaints and a 59 percent drop in use of force.

There will be time when officers will not have to record, such as during staff meetings or anywhere there is an expectation of privacy, such as a bathroom.

An officer can be disciplined if they do not activate the camera during a call.

**Click here for more stories on body cameras**

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