City Council to review dashcam technology in Akron police cars

Following the police shooting of Jayland Walker earlier this year, there has been a push for additional recording technology.

AKRON, Ohio — On Monday night, members of the Akron City Council got their first look at potential new dash cam technology for the city’s police department.

A special council meeting was convened to review the proposed cameras and conduct a Q&A with representatives of Axon, the company developing body camera and dash cam technology.

“I think it’s a really good thing for the city, it’s a huge investment, but it’s an important investment, and we can’t put a dollar’s worth on trust,” Akker said. London City Councilman Nancy Holland said.

More video technology is part of the call for change following the police shooting of Jayland Walker in June. Body camera footage has been released, but the city has no dash cams to go with it.

Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said it’s always been a topic of discussion, but the budget has always been an issue.

“As a result of the Jayland Walker shooting, this topic has been brought up again, and as tragic as it is, I’m glad we can now continue to buy this technology,” Mylett said.

So what’s the difference between the two technologies?

While body cam footage paints a good picture of the scene, it can miss some key details.

“So the body camera will capture wherever the officer is going, but with the limitation that if you’re in the car and you turn on the body camera, all you’ll see is the steering wheel,” Mylett said. “The onboard camera, the dash cam, will capture a specific view of the front of the vehicle.”

The Axon dash cam can be turned on manually by the police, or activated by the lights and siren or the safety switch on the Taser.

Mylett said the goal is to install these videos on about 50 patrol cars in the department because the demand for the videos has proven to be high.

“Our public records requests for video are increasing 35-45 percent every year,” said Akron Police Deputy Chief Brian Harding.

The city council said the proposed dashcam would increase transparency and trust, and some members believed the vote would pass once it was proposed.

“Once we have neat numbers, once we have a clear idea, I think it’s going to be quick to vote from there,” Holland said.

City officials told 3News that they are still in the early stages and have not yet settled on a price tag for the dashcam.

The Akron Police Department will test the technology on two cruisers for 90 days in early 2023.

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