NewsChannel5 Investigators have learned the City of Cleveland has hired an outside law firm to represent the city and 13 officers named in a federal lawsuit filed by the family members of the victims of the deadly Nov. 2012 police chase and shooting.
CLEVELAND - Cleveland Councilman Zack Reed said the city should put cameras in all of its police vehicles, especially after the police chase and shooting in East Cleveland last Thursday that left two people dead.
"It's a no-brainer. There's no reason in the world why the largest police force in the state does not have these cameras," he said.
The Cleveland Police Department said out of 372 marked police vehicles, 14 are equipped with dash cams.
None of the 14 cameras were inside vehicles that participated in the chase that began in Cleveland around 10:30 p.m. on Nov. 29, or the shooting outside Heritage Middle School. 13 officers are under investigation for their roles in the incident.
"The only pictures I saw of the incident was from Bratenahl. Now, if a small city like Bratenahl can afford cameras, a big league city, like the city of Cleveland, can afford a camera," he said.
Mayor Frank Jackson's staff said there are plans to add dash cameras to police vehicles. They said all of the city's patrol cars will be equipped with them by the end of 2015.
During a news conference Monday, Jackson acknowledged the cameras would assist investigators trying to determine what happened during last Thursday's shooting.
"We recognize that's a problem and as we evaluate what we could have done better as an administration, of course, that will be one of the things we will be looking at," said Jackson.
The cameras are expensive. Euclid Police bought six new cameras last year. They each cost $7,000, according to patrolman Adam Beese.
"In the budgetary times we're in, I don't know that outfitting an entire fleet with them is fiscally responsible or actually possible," he said.
However, Beese said he thinks the cameras are a good investment. "It's definitely a more comfortable feeling know that my word is my word...and that's backed up by video," he said.
Reed said his research shows equipping all of Cleveland's police cars with dash cameras would cost $7 million. Reed said Cleveland can afford the cameras. He plans to ask fellow city council members to set aside money for dash cameras in the city's 2013-2014 budget.
Cleveland Police also plan to test personal body cameras. The cameras would likely be attached to officers' lapels. A police spokesperson says the city is still vetting vendors who sell the cameras.
Watch Sarah's report coming up on NewsChannel5 at 5 p.m.
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