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Ohio Governor Budgets for Body Cameras, Other Police Tech

In addition to $10 million for statewide body camera grants, the budget plan also includes funding for gunshot detection technologies and other local efforts to reduce gun violence.

by Marc Kovac, The Columbus Dispatch / February 3, 2021
The Ohio Statehouse at dawn. Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

(TNS) — The state would provide $10 million in grants to buy body cameras for officers, under a provision in Gov. Mike DeWine’s biennial budget proposal.

DeWine said Wednesday that about two-thirds of law enforcement agencies statewide don’t have body cameras, often because of the costs involved.

“The public has more confidence and trust in the criminal justice system when officers are wearing them,” the governor said during a Wednesday morning press conference. His goal is for every police officer in Ohio to have a body camera.

DeWine’s two-year budget plan also includes continued support for task forces and other state-backed efforts working to thwart drug trafficking. That includes the opening of Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center locations in Cincinnati and Toledo to assist local law enforcement in investigations of illegal narcotics and gun crimes.

The budget plan also includes funding for gunshot detection technologies and other local efforts to reduce gun violence, with $8 million in grant funding to establish and support law enforcement investigation centers that focus on cell phones and other evidence of firearm crimes.

The governor announced the initiatives Wednesday as part of the continuing rollout of details of his biennial budget proposal, with $75 billion in general fund spending over the next two fiscal years, beginning July 1.

“Every child deserves a safe neighborhood to grow up in,” DeWine said. “And so much of what we have proposed in our budget, so much of the good things that we want to do, so much of people’s quality of life, is really dependent on the absence of crime."

The executive spending plan is scheduled for an initial hearing before the Ohio House’s Finance Committee Thursday, with months of deliberations to come in the House and Ohio Senate. A final two-year budget is expected to be adopted by the end of June.

Specifics on the criminal justice and other budget provisions will be released in coming weeks, when the actual legislative language is submitted to lawmakers, said state Budget Director Kim Murnieks.

That could include all or part of the comprehensive package of gun reforms DeWine announced following a mass shooting in Dayton in August 2019 that left nine people dead and a dozen wounded. DeWine has continued to urge passage of law changes to expand information and alerts in background checks for firearm purchases and increased penalties for the illegal possession, purchase and sale of guns, among other law changes.

DeWine declined to offer specifics Wednesday, though he said, "Language that we will be sending up will put into law many of the proposals that we have made... We're not giving up on the pledge I made to the people in the Miami Valley."

(c)2021 The Columbus Dispatch, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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