The push for additional recording technology comes after the deadly police shooting of Jayland Walker earlier this year.
AKRON, Ohio — Akron City Council members got their first look at potential new dash camera technology for the city’s police department on Monday night.
A special council meeting was held to both view the proposed cameras and have a Q & A with the representatives of Axon, the company that develops body camera and dashcam technology.
“I think it’s a really good thing for the city, it’s a big investment but its an important one, we can’t put a dollar value on trust,” said Akron City Councilwoman Nancy Holland.
More video technology was a part of the call for change following the deadly police shooting of Jayland Walker in June. Body cam footage was released but the city didn’t have dashcam to go along with it.
Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said it’s always been a topic of discussion, but budget has been an issue.
“The topic got brought back up as a result of the Jayland Walker shooting, and as tragic as it is, I’m glad that we’re at this point now where we’re able to move forward with the purchase of this technology,” Mylett said.
So how are the two technologies different?
While body cam footage can paint a good picture of a scene, it can leave some key details out.
“So the body camera will capture wherever the officer is going, but the limitation is if you’re inside the car and you turn on the body cam, all you’re going to see is the steering wheel,” said Mylett. “Where the in-car camera, the dashcam, will capture a certain view within the front of the vehicle.”
The Axon dash cameras can be turned on manually by officers, or activated with lights and sirens or a safety switch on their taser.
Mylett said the goal is to have them in all patrol vehicles, roughly 50 within the department, as video proves to be in high demand.
“Our public records requests from videos have been going up 35-45% every year,” said Akron Police Deputy Chief Brian Harding.
City council said the proposed dashcams will improve transparency and trust, with some members confident that the vote will pass once it is presented.
“Once we have concise numbers, once we have a clear idea, from there I imagine the vote would go pretty quickly,” Holland said.
City officials told 3News they are still early in the process with no set price tag for how much the dashcams would cost.
The Akron Police Department will test out the technology in two cruisers for 90 days at the beginning of 2023.