How often are body cams found to malfunction or do officers fail to turn theirs on? Are such incidents investigated?

Shaker Heights police officers have utilized body cameras for more than five years and dash cams for more than 10 years. These cameras have malfunctioned periodically over the years and on occasion officers have failed to activate them. The frequency of both of these occurrences has declined substantially as officers are now accustomed to using them and the technical support for malfunctions has improved.

In circumstances when it should have been activated but was not, there is an investigation into why this occurred and officers may be subject to disciplinary action, if warranted. Presently, we are at the end of the useful life of our current body cam system. The age of the system can also cause malfunctions resulting in a failure to activate.

In 2020, City Council approved the purchase of a new camera system so we are in the process of purchasing and activating a new system. It has significant improvements due to new technology. One of the enhancements is that dash cams and body worn cams are automatically activated when cruiser lights are turned on.

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1. How often are body cams found to malfunction or do officers fail to turn theirs on? Are such incidents investigated?
2. What happens if an officer repeatedly has issues with turning on her /his body cam?