By Ryan Berry
GREENVILLE — At a recent Greenville City Council meeting, Bishop Lee Bowling addressed council and encouraged them to purchase body cameras for the Greenville Police Department. At Tuesday’s meeting of Greenville City Council, Greenville Police Lt. Dean Flannery presented the bids he received from Motorola and the cost the city could face if the council decides to purchase body cameras for all officers.
The cost to equip all officers with body cameras ranges from approximately $60,000 to $110,000. According to Lt. Flannery, the cameras would work hand-in-hand with the dashboard cameras already installed. The difference in the cost is due to the different packages available. The $60,000 cost would be cameras and software only. The city would have to maintain its server where videos are currently stored. The $110,000 would include new cameras at the three-year mark, software and cloud storage for videos. Although the current server could handle the load, Lt. Flannery explained the server is expected to last for seven or eight years and was purchased in 2020. The cost of the server was approximately $7,000, which means the city is paying approximately $1,000 a year for storage.
Lt. Flannery explained the city has had dashboard cameras in all of its cruisers for the past 10-15 years. Those alone have helped the city tremendously. “A lot of people, when we first got the original car cameras, they were like, ‘are you sure you’re going to like that?’” Flannery continued, “It has saved more officers and helped with more conviction than anybody can count.”
The lieutenant expressed his support for purchasing body cameras, but suggested the city continue to look for grants. He pointed to a grant the city of Troy announced yesterday. The state has offered grants the past two years and the city is hoping they will offer grants again this year. Many communities have had up to 80 percent of the cost paid through a grant. Lt. Flannery suggested they “keep an eye on it this year and revisit it in the fall. If they don’t have any grants, we can look at appropriating the money.”
The police department received possible good news this week. The department was offered a drug/tracking dog that is no longer being used by another department. Police department officials and the officer that agreed to take the dog will be traveling to Preble County to meet the dog and determine if it is a viable option for the city. The dog will have to undergo recertification. If he meets all of the requirements, the city could bring him home that day. The Darke County Prosecutor’s Office has funds available to pay the cost of the dog. The city would be required to pay for continued training, dog food, veterinarian bills, etc. The Darke County Sheriff’s Office has offered a dog cage that fits into the Greenville police cruiser.
Lt. Flannery explained this dog is not a “bite dog,” which means he will not take down an offender. The city has worked closely with the Sheriff and Union City Police Department in the past to use their drug dogs. However, the department is reliant upon their schedule for availability.
If they get the dog, Flannery would like to see it used often. Current law allows for the dog to be walked through the schools or around cars at will. He compared the use of the dog to what a community south of Darke County did with a “speed trap” through that community. He said it caused people to slow down going through the town. By using the drug dog often, he believes it could curtail people coming to Greenville to use or sell or drugs.
Council President John Baumgardner said, “I think this is something we have all wanted. I think it will make it not as easy to do business – doing drugs or selling drugs. I’ll speak for council and say we’re very, very favorable to do this.”
To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].