Cleveland has doubts on body cameras for part-time work


CLEVELAND (AP) — City officials are wrestling with an order to devise a plan for a pilot project that would require police officers to wear body cameras while moonlighting, citing the potential overtime cost to the city.

The city must submit plans for the pilot to U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver by April 28 as part of Cleveland’s agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to reform the police department.

Use of body cameras during off-duty, part-time work is being pushed by Matthew Barge, the independent monitor paid by the city to oversee implementation of the agreement reached in May 2015 after a federal investigation concluded Cleveland police officers had shown a pattern of using excessive force and violating people’s civil rights.

The city’s plans to issue body cameras to its 1,500 officers predated the consent decree.

Judge Oliver could approve plans for the pilot, ask for changes or reject the idea altogether.

Greg White, Cleveland’s lead official for the consent decree, said creating a pilot program “is more complicated than what it seems on the surface.” He said there are concerns about whether officers taking time to return their cameras to their docking stations and upload video could cut into their regular duty time or require the city to pay overtime.

“We’re determining whether a pilot program would even work,” White said. “If the city has to pay overtime, there could be a significant price tag associated with it.”

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