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Hubbard leaders hail benefits of police body cams

HUBBARD — Saying police having body cameras has become necessary in law enforcement, city officials note Hubbard is among communities in the Mahoning Valley with them.

Mayor Ben Kyle said the city acquired the body cameras and other equipment last year from Digital Ally for less than $50,000.

“We wanted to be proactive with getting the body cameras. Today, body cameras are necessary for law enforcement to have,” Kyle said.

Safety Director Bill Bancroft said eight body cameras have been in use on each shift. He said though the department has more than eight police officers, that is about how many work on a shift. Bancroft said the city is seeking grants to get additional body cameras.

“We are making sure each officer on shift has a body camera,” he said,

Kyle said Police Chief Bob Thompson researched body cameras and found Digital Ally had what was best for the city.

The department received the cameras last fall, and they became operational after officers went through training on their usage.

Kyle said policies and procedures were also put in place on the body cameras before they were activated.

“The body cameras are really a unique system. We have done a lot to prepare to get the cameras ready and in use. The officers when on patrol will have the body cameras. There are also cameras on the cars,” he said.

Officials said each officer is required to wear and use body cameras while on duty in the city.

Bancroft said the cameras will give prosecutors instant access to the video. Also, officers will be able to use the recordings to write their reports and review things, Bancroft said.

In addition, Bancroft said the cameras can be used during testimony in court.

Bancroft said body cameras can show what happens at a traffic stop or if someone presents false information or makes a false accusation against an officer, it can be checked. They can also help protect the public.

“With the cameras we can view the footage of what happened. This helps with transparency and accountability in enforcing the law,” he said.

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