Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,390,000)
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) is requesting support to implement a new statewide Body-Worn Camera (BWC) project in the Adult Parole Authority (APA). The APA supervises approximately 32,000 individuals. We are requesting 695 BWCs and related equipment/storage for statewide implementation . This equipment will be purchased following all procurement guidelines.
APA policy requires regular community contact with the supervised population, which is a substantial portion of our work. This could include home visits, employment checks, placement investigations , arrests, home searches, and support system contacts. Staff also are engaged with elements associated with future criminal behavior, such as gang membership and family conflict. During these routine job duties, staff can encounter risky situations. Staff are trained in motivational interviewing, de-escalation, unarmed self-defense, and the use of force and expected to use force necessary up to and including deadly force. They wear bulletproof vests and carry safety equipment (handcuffs, pepper spray, and a firearm). The BWC would provide an extra element of safety and support for the staff conducting these job duties.
The BWC program would be implemented statewide following the development of an implementation plan. Training would be provided after procurement of equipment. Data collection and ongoing communication would occur with the TTA provider. The developed policy and procedures would be documented with a BWC Certification Form and Policy Scorecard.
Staff would be able to present the video evidence to provide support of proving violation behaviors that could include use of weapon, having weapons on person or property, assaultive behavior, fleeing, and drug usage or possession. This would be used in conjunction with current evidence collection techniques and provide additional video evidence during hearings. The footage could be used in a collaborative effort with outside criminal justice agencies via a subpoena process. This could assist with arrest, identification, and overall safety. The pilot will likely produce opportunities for training after footage is examined and best practices or areas for growth are realized.
Not only will the APA and those staff utilizing the BWC benefit from this project, but through collaboration and sharing of information, other community agencies to include law enforcement could benefit from this valuable footage, training plans, etc. The use of BWC increases visibility and leads to increased legitimacy within the community.
In addition to submitting all required BJA reports, we will also work with our TTA provider to complete an exit conference and report.