By Scott Halasz
XENIA — In an effort to create more transparency and safety for police and citizens, all Xenia patrol officers and detectives are now wearing body cameras.
With the help of a $5,000 grant from the Justice Assistance Grant, the department was able to purchase 35 Digital Ally FirstVu HD cameras. The cameras attached to the front of the officer’s shirt and a small VCR-type device records the data, according to Patrol Captain Dave Pazynski, who began exploring the idea last year when he saw a story about it on a network news show.
“I started looking into it a little,” he said.
After the events in Ferguson, Mo. — and because Pazynski wants more transparency in the department — it was a no-brainer to move forward with the $30,000 project.
“One of my goals when I became patrol captain (was to show) that there’s nothing to hide,” he said. “They have to have a camera on anytime they have any interaction with anyone.”
Exceptions include when an officer is speaking with another officer and when an officer is investigating a domestic violence case or a sex assault.
Videos are kept for 90 days unless they have been flagged for evidence.
“Then they can be kept as long as needed,” Pazynski said.
He has received no push-back from officers or detectives about the extra gear.
“They love it,” he said. “The officers are welcoming this with open arms. It’s there to protect them (and the public).”
The police have had cruiser cameras for many years, Pazynski said, and those videos have helped defend some officers who have had complaints lodged against them.
“Not one of the videos has ever resulted in punishment of an officer,” he said.
Pazynski is hopeful the body cameras will work the same way.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.