Springfield Police Division to roll out body cameras

Cameras designed to boost safety for officers and citizens, city says.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Springfield Police Division officers will soon have body worn cameras in an effort to improve transparency and accountability, and to build trust with the community.

Officers will be trained on the cameras over the next several weeks, and they will soon be worn as part of their uniforms, according to a release from the city. The decision was made after “extensive research,” consultation with the Ohio Collaborative and Community Police Advisory Team, and collaboration with the Police Patrol Officers Union (SPPA) and Command Officers Association (SCOA).

“The introduction of BWCs (body worn cameras) is designed to bolster the safety of Springfield Police Officers and the citizens they serve, fostering an environment of trust and responsibility,” the release stated.

According to the release, the cameras will serve as objective records of police-citizen interactions, “ensuring accountability and transparency in policing activities.” They can also deter “aggressive behavior” and demonstrate the department’s commitment to be open and fair, which will build trust between SPD and the community.

Denise Williams, president of Springfield’s NAACP, said the cameras will hold police accountable for their actions. She said that now, if there is an incident involving SPD the NAACP wants to investigate, it can request and review footage of what happened.

She said she had been fighting for the cameras for years and progress happened when Allison Elliott became chief.

“I am so proud of Chief Elliott for her persistence in getting these body cameras,” Williams said.

The cameras will also serve a purpose in evidence collection, with the footage being able to be used in investigations and legal proceedings, according to the release. Footage can also be used for training purposes.

The cameras cost almost $400,000, and SPD recently received a Body Worn Camera grant of more than $162,000 from the state, with the rest from local funding. The city also recently received a state grant from the same program to help it hire another staff member to help with the body worn camera program.

“The Springfield Police Division remains dedicated to fostering a positive working relationship with both the SPPA and the SCOA, as well as all its officers,” the release read. “The department believes that the implementation of Body Worn Cameras is a significant step forward in maintaining public safety and upholding the principles of accountability and transparency.”

The NAACP will soon hold a community conversation with Elliott to discuss the body cameras and violence the community faces, Williams said. The details are being worked out.

About the Author