TOLEDO (WTOL) - Toledo police are once again wearing body cameras, after the initial batch didn't work out so well.
Officers said body cameras are crucial to building public trust.
More than 300 body cams bought by Toledo Police had to be returned due to a variety of technological issues; batteries not charging, errors in video downloading and not staying mounted on officer’s uniforms. Toledo Police sent them back for a full refund in April.
Since May, officers have been without body cameras as police commanders figured out which cameras would be best. They ultimately chose GETAC body worn cameras.
This new system is more user-friendly for officers. They mount more securely to officer’s uniforms and allow officers to organize types of video from a traffic stop to a foot chase. Police leaders hope it will make officers' jobs easier and safer.
"It's much more user-friendly. It's the next generation, if you will. And a good thing about this, it's synced in to the light bars on the police cars. So when they turn on their lights and sirens, this is automatically going to turn on. So if they're in a pursuit or some kind of dangerous or acute issue, they don't have to worry about turning it on manually," said Toledo Police Chief George Kral.
Patrol officers out on the streets started wearing the cameras last Friday.
Officers said they view these new body cameras as an insurance policy, as they work to protect officers and the public from false stories.
"We get out there, we can see the whole scene, everything that happened and then people want to make complaints against us, now we have a record. If we do something wrong, there's a record of it. If there's false accusations, there's a record of that as well. So it just covers everybody," said Patrol Officer Brian Young.
Chief Kral said it is the department’s policy to have the cameras on and recording anytime police officers are interacting with the public. He is excited his officers are wearing them once again as they will provide a record to hold everyone accountable.
Capital improvement and grant funds were reallocated to purchase the new body cameras, totaling around $228,000 . Department leaders plan to outfit command officers next.