Cleveland, OH- Steve Loomis, who was recently elected President of the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association after losing the position in 2011, publicly criticized body cameras that the city’s police officers have been assigned to wear this year.
“It’s going to create more controversy than it’s going to solve,” Loomis told Cleveland’s News Channel 5. Loomis believes that video quality of the body cameras will be poor. “What they see on the video is going to be subjective, it’s not going to be clear video,” Loomis said. “The video in times of aggressive police work is terrible.”
According to WCBE.org, Loomis also argued that body cameras are unconstitutional. “You don’t think, in this day and age, and in the situation that we’re in here, that there’s a lot better ways to spend that money? And the video is not going to be conclusive in most cases, and it’s gonna actually cause more harm than good. And then there’s constitutional issues. You know, I don’t have the right to come into your house and videotape your house, that’s a public record. Imagine Tamir Rice – and those officers had body cameras on – and that happened so quickly, that that rookie officer forgot to push that button on that camera. Imagine that, what the outcry would be. Put the cameras in the cars, and let’s see how that works.”
Cleveland city councilman Steve Zone countered that “Any bit of information that you can get is good, regardless of what the quality of the video is.” The Cleveland City Council approved a bill last year authorizing the Cleveland Police Department to buy 1,500 body cameras for $2.4 million. Zone said that money for two thirds of the cameras has been allocated, with the remainder of the money coming from a recently passed $100 million bond issue.
Loomis told News Channel 5 he would rather see money spent on more cameras in police cruisers to offer a “wider perspective” of police situations, as well as microphones for officers to wear. Cleveland’s officers are expected to begin wearing the body cameras at the end of this month.