The Dublin police department plans to begin field testing officer body cameras by the end of this week.
The department has 10 cameras that will be distributed among officers in all three patrol shifts and also its traffic officers, said Dublin police Chief Heinz von Eckartsberg.
"Field testing allows us to see what type of impact using body cameras is going to have on the agency," von Eckartsberg said.
Field testing will last at least into next year, von Eckartsberg said. Department officials said they want to see how much time staff will have to devote to reviewing or redacting video for public distribution.
If the testing goes well, the department likely will outfit officers on patrol as well as traffic unit officers, von Eckartsberg said.
That would mean fewer than 50 of the 71 officers in the department would be outfitted with cameras. Detectives would not wear cameras, he said.
This year, the department spent about $20,000 for the camera equipment and a computer server to manage the video, von Eckartsberg said. Next year, he said, he expects to spend another $10,000.
Department policy includes guidelines on when officers would activate and deactivate the cameras, von Eckartsberg said.
Officers aren't expected to have the cameras on at all times. Instead, officers will operate the cameras much like they operate police cruiser cameras, turning them on for contact of an investigative or enforcement nature, or for any type of contact that becomes adversarial, he said. For example, patrol officers would turn cameras on at the beginning of a traffic stop.
Recordings would be available through public records requests.
In most cases, the recorded footage serves to protect officers and provide proof of the good work they are doing, von Eckartsberg said.
In many cases, the public also records police interactions, and the police department wants to make sure footage is represented from the perspective of the officer.
"We've got nothing to hide," he said.