Portsmouth Police Department to get body cameras

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- High speed chases, shootouts and drug raids: These are situations that police officers can encounter on any given day.

"We’ve had pursuits that were pretty volatile, go out in the county, go over to Kentucky,” Portsmouth Police Patrol Captain Jason Hedrick said.

But now, thanks to several grants, the Portsmouth Police Department will have more eyes on the street through body cameras and additional in-car cameras.

"The public will be able to see what the officers have been seeing,” he said.

This is something that can be helpful when it comes to prosecuting criminals and maintaining transparency in the community.

"It might give the public a little more trust and reassurance that the police department is doing their job,” Hedrick said.

For example, just a few weeks ago when an intoxicated man led police on a chase through Portsmouth, "He had actually passed out so the vehicle was traveling down 52,” Hedrick said.

Footage of the chase shows officers keeping traffic back and blocking off intersections.

"He ended up running into one of our cruisers,” Hedrick said.

After blocking the car in, the chase came to an end with some damage to a cruiser, but safety for the public.

In addition to the grants, the cameras will be funded in part by money seized from drug forfeitures.

The grant for the body cameras is $10,377.00 and the city will match an additional $1,037.70.

The in-car cameras grant amounts to $26,141.66 and the city will match the same amount.

The grants are through the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Office of Criminal Justice Services.

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