Police Body Cameras Coming Soon To Parma

Shortly after the commencement of my first term on council in 2014, the City was named in a lawsuit accusing one of our officers of excessive force. After hearing the details of the case, it seemed likely that the accusations were false. However, the taxpayers still got stuck paying for the cost associated with the lawsuit. It also gave the city as well as our fine police department a black eye. I began to research and found that the city had paid nearly $200,000 over the previous ten years on similar cases. Through my research I started to read more and more about police body cameras. To me it was a common sense approach to not only save the taxpayers money, but also to protect the reputation of the city and the police department.  

At a recent council meeting, Ward 9 Councilman Crossman said, “Councilman Dipierro was the first on Council back in early 2014, before Ferguson, before all this stuff that has happened in the recent years, where it became almost imperative I think to have these body cameras to protect our officers and, I think it gives residents some comfort, as well, knowing that the interactions are being recorded.”

This was a relatively new concept at the time, so I began to go through the political process of gathering support for the policy. Initially, my proposal met with strong resistance. With persistence and the support of my Council colleagues, the Police Chief and the Law Director, my recommendation to get police body-worn cameras has finally come to fruition. I am proud to have spearheaded the effort to get the city moving forward with the implementation of police body-worn cameras. Parma is already one of the safest cities in the nation and the introduction of body cameras will increase transparency, accountability, help prevent confrontational situations, and protect any false accusations of misconduct against our officers. This Council is committed to providing the best possible working conditions and equipment to the Parma Police Officers in the performance of their duties and protecting our residents.

Council President Brennan said, “It was Councilman Dipierro who was one of the early advocates of bringing body cameras to the Parma Police Department. I just wanted to acknowledge his significant part in our movement to introducing those in the department and I look forward to continuing to hear of his work with the Safety Department in the implementation ultimately of the cams.”

In addition, due to the diligent work of Police Chief Bobak, the city was recently awarded a $135,000 body-worn camera grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs and Bureau of Justice Assistance, which will save taxpayer dollars. The grant will be used to purchase 99 cameras with charging stations, video storage, computer software and personnel costs. It will also cover the cost of two years of attendance at a Justice Department body-worn camera policy training Conference.

Chief Bobak said, “The Parma officers are looking forward to these cameras, they will assist us in documenting incidents. Also the grant that we received will save the taxpayers money.”

Parma Law Director Tim Dobeck also applauded these efforts, stating, “Police body cameras are overdue for our police department. This new tool will help secure convictions in criminal cases and will also protect our officers from false allegations of misconduct.”

Vito Dipierro

Husband, father, Parma City Councilman, small business owner (Dipierro Real Estate Services), and Rotarian.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 4:49 PM, 11.01.2017