Investigator | Police union gives body cams a 'D'

CLEVELAND -- Cop cams have been rolling in Cleveland for two months and, so far, they have received mixed reviews.

"I give them an 'A', said Sgt. Ali Pillow, spokesman for the Cleveland Police Department.

"With the problems we've experienced, a 'D', said Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association.

Loomis says more than 35,000 videos have been shot in less than two months in one district only -- the Fourth. It's the only one of five districts that is using body cams.

"To store the video right now, we have five percent of the available storage space that's been used in a month by one district. Just think when all five districts use them," Loomis said.

He fired off a number of complaints, including a minimal number of supervisors to review videos, an inadequate number of docking stations and limited storage space which serves as digital evidence lockers.

"These problems are pretty systemic," Loomis said.

Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed is calling for hearings into the program.

"You've got to ask yourself, 'what is the problem with this administration when it comes to body cams and transparency?'" Reed said.

Sgt. Pillow said the city has delayed its plans to distribute cop cams to two other districts until an internal audit of the program is performed.

"We want an audit to make sure the storage, the retrieval as well as the process of what officers are going through is working fine before we move forward," said Pillow.

Requests by both the police union and WKYC Channel 3 for copies of the body cam videos have been denied by city hall. Loomis says he's not sure why and argues some of the videos will show officers in a favorable light, referring specifically to an incident in which an officer was shot in the chest.

The city said WKYC's two requests are too vague. The station asked for incidents during the time the body cameras have been in operation to help identify cases that used the cameras.

WKYC Channel 3 plans to ask for the videos to see how police and civilians are interacting.

"I'm telling you right now, that video will go nationwide in a day to demonstrate what police go through on a daily basis," Loomis said.

About 250 officers began wearing cameras in early February. The plan is to have all officers with cameras by June.


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