In August 2014, I approached the mayor of South Euclid, Georgine Welo, about taking $23,000 out of the Law Enforcement Trust fund to equip my 37 officers with body cameras. I knew that, in the long run, they could save the city money and make citizen complaints easier to resolve. By October, that decision would pay off tenfold.
One early morning, my officers were called to a domestic disturbance. They came upon a man, attempting to murder his girlfriend. The officers used lethal force to stop him. Body camera footage confirmed that they followed protocol to save the woman's life. The footage held both the suspect and my officers accountable for their actions and saved the city from the possibility of a costly lawsuit.
Although wrangling funding for the cameras can be a battle in some small departments, they are a logical next step in the adoption of technology in law enforcement. True, they are not a magic bullet. Like any other tool, they have limitations. But body cameras are a necessity. My advice to suburban chiefs: Just do it.