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Amherst, Ohio, PD Hopeful for Grant to Fund Body Cams

A grant proposal from the state’s Office of Criminal Justice would cover $98,150 of the initial $170,000 cost for body cameras over a five-year period. The council is expected to vote on the grant next week.

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(TNS) —The Amherst Police Department could receive more crime fighting technology following a grant proposal from the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice for new body cameras for officers.

Amherst City Councilman-at-Large Chuck Winiarski, who is chairman of the Fire and Safety Committee president is hopeful the Police Department will get the cameras.

"If this passes and the grant is accepted, this will be the first time our police officers will have body cameras on their person," Winiarski said.

The process to acquire and put the cameras in use, was not an easy one due to the fact that the technology that Amherst police already use in their cruisers differs from most other departments, he said.

"This would not only put body worn cameras on all of our officers, but would also cover the cost of equipment, storage and technology that would make it all available to the detectives who would need to access the footage," said Mayor Mark Costilow. "At first, we didn't know that we were going to need to do the specs and put it off the bid because a lot of our software we already have is unique."

The current grant, if accepted, will cover $98,150 of the initial $170,000 cost spanning over five years.

"If we decide to receive this grant, the $98,150 will be the first payment for the cameras with the remaining costs being covered annual each year," Costilow said. "This has been a difficult grant to find, and we are excited for it to move forward."

And the excitement isn't confined to just the mayor and city.

"I called the union chief of police in this area earlier this morning to see what he thought," Winiarski said. "He told me that he is very pleased as well, not only for the safety of our officers, but for the moves we can make going forward with this."

The decision to accept the grant and allocate funding toward covering the remaining expenses is set to be made during the next Council meeting at 7 p.m., March 27, at City Hall, 206 S. Main St.

Earlier this year, the Police Department installed 12 new automatic license plate reading cameras, or ALPRs, throughout the city.

The cameras, which finished installation on Feb. 13, are designed by Flock Safety, a public safety technology company that helps neighborhoods, communities and law enforcement work together to fight crime.

©2023 The Morning Journal, Lorain, Ohio. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.