Many Cleveland police officers will not be wearing body cameras if protests turn violent during the Republican National Convention in July, officials said.
Police officials have told officers that a host of logistical issues, including an inability to attach the cameras to police riot gear, means officers will not be able to wear the devices, reports the Plain Dealer.
The department says officers will use other methods to record police interactions with protesters and the public during the convention. But Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Steve Loomis and the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio expressed concern that the officers who will be thrust in the most volatile situations will not be wearing a device that is a deterrent for both violence against police and officer misconduct.
The city plans to bring in thousands of officers from police departments to help provide security. Whether those officers wear body cameras will be up to their department, Cleveland police spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia said.
Cleveland's police force will wear "softer" uniforms at the beginning of the RNC, rather than adopting a military-style approach that might inflame tensions. Tampa police took a similar approach during the 2012 RNC.
The officers in softer uniforms will wear their body cameras, which cost the city $2.4 million in 2015, and will be required to follow the department's recording policy, Ciaccia said in an emailed statement to cleveland.com.
Should protesters clash with police, officers will dress in riot gear and administer crowd control tactics. They will not wear body cameras, but Ciaccia stressed that police officers will use other methods of recording.