Kent State University and Streetsboro receive body camera grants

The state is giving more than $30,000 in grants to Kent State University Police to start a body camera program and to Streetsboro Police to replace existing body cameras.

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The grants include $23,780 for the KSU Police Department and $6,876 for the Streetsboro Police Department, according to a news release from the office of State Representative Gail Pavliga (R-Portage County). ).

“This program is going to contribute significantly to transparency, which will benefit our police services and our Portage County residents,” Pavliga said.

Funding comes from Ohio House Bill 110, which Governor Mike Dewine signed into law last year.

“We are thrilled to have received the body camera grant,” KSU Police Chief Dean Tondiglia said in the statement. “We tested Getac body cameras for two months last year, and these are the cameras that we will be acquiring with the grant money. Having body cameras not only keeps us safe, but our community safe. We will have the opportunity to show the video from the officer’s point of view, and also to report.”

A close-up shows one of dozens of Stretsboro Police body cameras due to be replaced with funds from a state grant.  Both the current cameras and the new cameras will be supplied by technology company Getac, from which Kent State University Police plans to purchase 20 cameras, also with a state grant.

Getac is a technology company that specializes in serving professionals, including law enforcement and the military, according to the company’s website.

KSU Police Community Resources Manager Tricia Knoles said Monday the grant will pay for 20 cameras, plus video storage, which she says is cloud-based. The ministry will be responsible for paying to maintain the equipment.

“Corn [the grant] fully funds a startup, which is great,” she said.

Knoles said that barring unforeseen delays, the department should have the cameras available and train officers in their use by early summer and possibly spring. Knoles said the department also develops policies for camera use.

Knoles said the department started considering purchasing body-worn cameras several years ago, but COVID has slowed the effort somewhat.

“And then last year we talked to other agencies to see what kind of body cameras they were looking at or already had and Getac body cameras seem to be what some of the other agencies are looking at,” Knoles said. “So we decided to test the Getac cameras [around April 2021]…We did a few months of testing with Getac body cameras. We really liked them.”

She said the department planned to pay for the cameras out of its budget, but then learned of the grant and applied for it.

Streetsboro will replace the cameras

Streetsboro Police Patrol Officer Scott Hermon, who wrote the grant application for the department, said he would use the grant money to replace his dozen cameras with cameras with capable batteries. to hold a charge longer.

“Our problem we had was that the batteries only lasted four or five hours at most,” Hermon said. “Our shifts are 12-hour shifts.”

Hermon said officers have chargers in their vehicles, but it can take three or four hours to fully charge the camera battery, which cannot be removed. The new cameras will have batteries that could run for up to nine or 10 a.m., Hermon said, allowing officers to use them more during a shift.

The current cameras are also from Getac and the new ones will be the same model, Hermon added.

Police Lt. Rich Polivka said the department started using body cameras in 2016.

Journalist Jeff Saunders can be reached at [email protected].

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