Body camera delays frustrate Lima councilors

By Craig Kelly -

LIMA — Certain Lima City Council members voiced frustration with the slow pace the Lima Police Department has taken in selecting a model for its body camera program during discussions Monday on the issuance of bonds for various city projects.

The department first announced its body camera pilot program in late January, saying it would conduct a four-week trial with its first model. Since that announcement, the department has tested a total of five models, according to Lima Police Chief Kevin Martin, considering a variety of factors, such as storage type (server or cloud storage), cost, video quality and ease of use for officers.

“We had extended the study period because there was an additional camera that came to our attention, one from Motorola,” Martin told Lima council. “We felt it was important to test that because there were some issues with cost controls placed with Motorola. We are in the process of testing it right now, and as it looks, that will probably not be the final product we’ll ask council to approve because we’re finding some issues with the camera itself.”

To date, no cost estimate has been provided to council since no camera model has been selected, and different models would come with different costs, Martin said. The fact that nearly a year has passed with no permanent body camera program put into place is of concern to several in the community, 6th Ward Councilman Derry Glenn said.

“Could we set a deadline or a date?” he said. “The community is still talking about it, asking me when we’ll get this, and I have to tell them I don’t know. It is very important that we get these cameras.”

Martin replied by saying the late addition of the Motorola model is the cause of the delay, and the department felt it was its responsibility to be diligent in examining all options.

“We were actually ready to go with a product a few months ago, and then we became aware of the offer from Motorola to have a chance to take a free look at this product,” he said. “We didn’t want to have the chance to jump at the contract until we had the chance to study the camera.”

Jesse Lowe II, 3rd Ward councilman, cited previous statements from Martin in which he said that he wants the department to avoid making a bad decision like other departments. Lowe then asked if the department tested any of the models that other departments found unsatisfactory, to which Martin said yes.

“It’s been almost a year, and there have been all these promises,” Lowe said. “We just had two situations this summer, and it’s hard to tell a young lady or gentleman that the reason we can’t say this or do that is because we don’t have body cameras that we approved six or seven months ago.”

By Craig Kelly

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.

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