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Brunswick police seek more cameras

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BRUNSWICK –– The city’s police department is looking to add body cameras to its toolkit, as well as more vehicle cameras.

“Only part of our vehicle fleet over the years have had video camera systems,” said Brunswick Police Chief Brian Ohlin.

“(The renewed effort) will include body cameras and car cameras, and the idea is to integrate them and have both cameras on the same system so they complement each other,”

Ohlin said.

If the body and vehicle cameras are integrated, it means that the car camera begins recording once the lights or sirens are turned on and the body cams automatically turn on.

He was not willing to disclose information about the companies the department is considering purchasing the cameras from. Specific costs for cameras, instillation, software and hardware have yet to be confirmed.

The chief said he has applied for a grant from the National Institute of Justice to help cover the cost.

“So, it’s a federal funding source to fund body-worn camera programs,” Ohlin said. “We are applying for a $100,000 grant, but it’s actually going to be $50,000 from the federal government and $50,000 is the match on the city’s part.”

Ohlin said that he will find out whether the department got the grant by Oct. 1. The grant will pay for the cameras, installation, servers, software and other hardware.

While Brunswick police do not yet have get body cams, other cities in the county have them.

“We’ve had car cameras dating back to the early 2000s and probably even late ’90s,” Medina police Lt. Scott Marcum said. “The body cameras, we started that program in 2013 and now we’re on our second generation of body cameras, and they’ve worked out very well for us.”

The first round of body cameras and vehicle cameras that were used in 2013 lasted the department about five years.

Most car cameras come with a body cam and cost about $6,200 per camera package, Marcum said. On their own, body cams can cost about $1,000.

“The cameras have helped us prove that we do hold our officers to a higher standard,” Marcum said. “The evidence obtained from them is pretty priceless. We can describe how someone is acting when we are on a call, but until you actually see it firsthand, it’s hard to understand.”

Videos gathered in the field are used in court cases and when conducting investigations.

Contact reporter Alyssa Alfano at (330) 721-4063 or aalfano@medina-gazette.com.

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