The Toledo City Council received word Wednesday night that four Toledo Police officers are wearing personal High Definition video camcorders that attach to their patrol car seats or to their uniform. The camcorders are growing in popularity nationwide as an official piece of court-relavent evidence for criminal prosecution, civil proceedings and for allegations of police brutality, excessive force, assault on an officer, probable cause for stopping individuals on the street or while driving. The camcorders are also a constant reminder for officers to know that a potential courtroom is watching every second of the officer’s day on the street.
The devices cannot be started or stopped by the officer. They are issued to an officer at the beginning of their work day and are turned in at the end of that work day. The video is downloaded to a secure master recording device that has a high security access procedure usable only by police administration. Copies obtained from the recording device occurs only via personal passcodes by police administrators which are recorded in a secure, unalterable report. When criminal charges reach the courtroom, the video is then presented as any other evidence or testimony in any criminal trial. The video is handled as any other piece of evidence in what law enforcement refers to as within a “chain of custody,” which ensures that the evidence has not been tampered with or altered in any way.
The city council seemed impressed with the device and authorized the Toledo Police Department to order four more of the camcorders so that all officers will be equipped to wear one. The camcorders are being purchased with outside grant money, at no cost to the city. The cameras cost about one thousand dollars.
To see exactly how the devices are used in the field click here and play the videos.