COLUMBUS, Ohio — Governor Mike DeWine on Tuesday announced that $5 million in grant funding is now available to help local law enforcement agencies invest in body camera equipment and pay for associated expenses.
Gov. DeWine prioritized the creation of the new Ohio Body-Worn Camera Grant Program in the state’s 2022-2023 operating budget that was passed by the Ohio General Assembly in June. The program will assist local law enforcement agencies with costs related to camera equipment, video storage, public record management personnel, and more.
“Body cameras are beneficial for peace officers and the public because they act as impartial eyes on events as they transpire, but most law enforcement agencies in Ohio don’t have them because they can’t afford them,” Gov. DeWine said. “One of my top priorities has always been ensuring that our law enforcement officers have the tools they need to best serve the public, and this new grant program will help eliminate the cost barriers associated with body-worn cameras and will contribute to a safer Ohio.”
The Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS), which administers the new grant program, began accepting applications on Tuesday. Applications will be accepted until Oct. 8 at 5 p.m.
The use of body cameras is not mandated in Ohio. It is estimated that up to two-thirds of all law enforcement agencies in the state, primarily Ohio’s smaller agencies, do not outfit their officers with cameras due to equipment and video storage costs.
The Ohio Body-Worn Camera Grant Program will prioritize funding for agencies that have not yet established a body-worn camera program, however, agencies with existing programs are also encouraged to apply. Funding awards will be flexible to meet agencies’ individual needs and is contingent on adherence to the Ohio Community-Police Collaborative’s body-worn camera standard. Agencies not yet certified in the standard will have a pre-award condition requiring certification prior to the grant funds being released.
Law enforcement agencies applying for the grant must also be in compliance with crime statistics reporting, using the Ohio Incident-Based Reporting System (OIBRS) or the FBI’s NIBRS Collection Application (NCA), per Ohio Revised Code Section 5502.62(C)(6)
A total of $10 million has been allotted to the Ohio Body-Worn Camera Grant Program as part of the 2022-2023 operating budget. The remainder of the grant funds will be available next year.