Ohio State Highway Patrol body cameras are operational

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) – Body cameras are installed and used by Ohio State Highway Patrol Troopers.

This part of Governor Mike DeWine’s initiative to equip all state officers with this equipment.

Funding was announced last year and the facility is nearing completion in southeast Ohio.

“It provides that transparency that people ask for, so if they question my word or something that’s going on, it’s available to them to hopefully answer those questions and support me as an officer,” said Cavalier David Bayless.

For years soldiers have relied solely on a dash cam to record them while on duty.

“Now you can actually see what we’re reacting to,” Bayless said. “It’s one thing to describe something in a statement; it’s another thing to have the visual to help it.

The cameras are programmed to record automatically. Once the lights are activated, the body camera activates and when the driver’s side door opens, the camera sound plays.

“It’s soldier-proof. It’s already set up so I don’t have to be distracted with it, which is good because I don’t want to be distracted with it. I don’t want to have to take my eyes off what I’m doing to ruin this thing,” Bayless said.

Body cameras can capture anything the dash cam can’t, because incidents don’t always happen directly in front of the cruiser.

“We used to reach out to our cruiser and manually move it around trying to capture things,” Bayless said. “There are little clues that you can’t see on this camera, especially if we’re not directly in front of this camera, because a lot of the incidents that we have, we can’t just set you up on X marks the place.

Soldiers can immediately watch the video in their cruisers on their computers.

“You can criticize things that you may not have seen. This is where you can watch it. Why didn’t I see this? Where am I looking? How did I not see this? Bayless said.

Soldiers can also place markers at key points, so people reviewing the case can easily see what happened.

“They don’t have to look for it. It is time stamped at 1:46 p.m. The suspect is trying to hide something in my vehicle,” Bayless said.

If agents are outside their vehicles, they must double tap the camera for it to activate. It beeps every two minutes to remind agents that it is still recording.

When soldiers are around other officers with body cameras enabled, theirs will automatically start recording.

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