Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,500,000)
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) is requesting support to enhance, upgrade and support a statewide Body-Worn Camera project in the Adult Parole Authority (APA) through this BJA grant category 2. In Ohio, the APA supervises individuals released from Ohio prisons with supervision, courtesy supervision for a small number of counties and their common pleas courts, and interstate compact cases. This amounts to approximately 32,000 offenders being supervised by 644 parole officer positions.
The purposes include enhancement of field contacts which make up a substantial portion of our community correction work. They provide opportunities to discover new law violations. Increased visibility increases legitimacy. While in the field, officers are engaged with critical elements associated with future criminal behavior, such as gang membership and family conflict. The BWC provides an extra element of safety and support for the staff conducting these critical job duties and legitimacy in community perceptions and interactions. This civilizing effect may prevent certain situations from escalating to levels requiring the use of force and improve interactions between officers and citizens.
The APA utilizes the evidence gained from the BWCs to present at parole violation hearings when available and applicable. The video footage is also used in collaborative efforts with outside criminal justice agencies via a subpoena process. The BWC program is also producing opportunities for staff training at the local and statewide level as footage is examined and potential best practices or areas for growth are realized.
The primary activities include expansion, allowing the APA to purchase additional cameras for new staff, updating cameras for existing staff, upgrading corresponding equipment, and expanding storage. The expected outcomes include enabling the APA to continue documentation of comprehensive BWC policy development, regular calls, monthly at minimum, with the TTA provider to report progress and receive guidance, procuring/leasing upgraded BWCs and any other equipment, and completion of an exit conference in collaboration with the TT A provider.
The intended service area is inclusive of all Parole Officer and Unit Supervisor positions throughout the state of Ohio. The intended beneficiaries include APA staff, supervisees, public, community and law
enforcement partners. The subrecipient is the BWC vendor.