Zack Reed's January Column | News
It’s technology stupid
A picture is worth a thousand words.
For the families of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams; and for the city of Cleveland, images would provide answers to a violent use of deadly force that left many questioning just what happened on November 29.
A dangerous 22 minute chase at speeds of 100 mph crisscrossed our city and ended in violent gunfire, but not one Cleveland police car was equipped with a dashboard camera to record the incident. We have the largest police force in Ohio with 372 marked cars, but only 19 of those have a dashboard camera. In an era where most people have the capability to record video from their cell phones, our police force remains without cameras.
I have been championing for dashboard cameras for more than a decade and we are still at the same point. And others cities, big and small are utilizing this technology. Time and again, video can justify a police officer’s actions, convict criminals, or prove a mistake made by law enforcement. If we are to fight crime in a modern world, our law enforcement needs to be equipped with modern technology.
The cost to equip our fleet with cameras would total near seven million dollars, but what about the cost of not having cameras? Cameras would help speed up investigations. They would reduce questionable public opinion. They would protect officers doing their jobs and rid the department of those who fail to uphold their sworn duties.
If we want to improve the efficiencies of our public safety forces and restore public confidence, then we must act and place dashboard cameras in each and every one of the 372 marked cars in the fleet. We owe it to Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. And we owe it to the men and women of the Cleveland Police Deparrtment who put their life on the line every day.