Council hears plea for police body cameras


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — Bishop Andy Roberts of The Church of God of the Apostolic Faith, Markwith Ave., Greenville, addressed Greenville City Council on Tuesday evening asking for council to consider purchasing body cameras for police officers. According to Bishop Roberts, the Office of the Bishop requested body camera footage from police officers that were present under the bridge where homeless are known to congregate. They were told that officers do not have body cameras.

Bishop Roberts said, “This week the Office of the Bishop sent out emails to members of city council and one of the emails I want to address tonight – we’re getting ready to enter into the end of the year where we do our budgeting for the city and get ready to make decisions. One of the decisions I would like you to consider and make a decision is body cameras for all police officers.” The email sent to council stated, “By investing in these cameras, we’re not only giving our officers the tools they need to better protect the public, but we’re also giving the public another reason to have confidence in the professionalism of the Greenville Police.”

Following the meeting, Safety Service Director Ryan Delk confirmed the police department does not have body cameras, but also explained at this point it is cost prohibitive. Body cameras on the market will not sync with the cameras installed on the dashboard of Greenville’s police cruisers. The city would be required to change its entire system, which could escalate the cost to over $400,000. Delk estimated the cost per officer would be approximately $20,000 and the city has 21 officers.

While there has been some funding available from the state for body cameras in the past, Delk believes the city could get increased funding if the state were to mandate body cameras for all police officers.

Delk admitted police vehicles cannot go everywhere to record every action taken by officers but pointed out they are trained to use their “dash cams” as much as possible. He gave an example of a person suspected of Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated is taken to the front of the vehicle where it is recorded and sound from the microphones on each officer is recorded.

In other business, council:

* Received updates on several projects, including YOLO Park Restrooms, State Route 502 Water Main installation, and construction on Ohio Street. Meeting deadlines for these projects is dependent on getting parts and supplies;

* Learned the new fire engine has been ordered and should be delivered in approximately 31 months. The city received its loan/lease from GNB Banking Centers at a cost of over $1.1 million;

* Approved a resolution to enter into contract with Choice One Engineering for the rendering of professional services related to the South Water Transmission Main Replacement. Delk explained the city doesn’t have the manpower to do this in-house because of the time involved.

The next regular meeting of Greenville City Council will be Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m., Council Chambers, Municipal Building.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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