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Columbus City Council To Vote On Body Cam Changes During Search Warrants

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Columbus City Council votes on an ordinance Monday night that would amend how officers use body-worn cameras while executing search warrants.

The ordinance would require law enforcement officers to keep their body cams running until any enforcement actions are completed and the premises is secured. Previously, officers' body cams could be deactivated as soon as the execution of a warrant was completed.

The measure amends no-knock warrant legislation Columbus passed last year, after officers in Louisville, Kentucky shot and killed Breonna Taylor in her apartment. At the time, officers claimed they announced themselves before forcing entry, while Taylor's boyfriend Kenneth Walker said he didn't hear anything.

The changes also include exempting officers from parts of last year's legislation if they are a part of a federal or state law enforcement taskforce.

A spokesman from the Department of Public Safety said in a statement the change is to "ensure that the officer's initial interaction is recorded, while also ensuring the camera is cut off when the interaction ends, to protect the privacy of residents and decrease storage costs." He added the changes were made "simply based on a desire to create the best policy possible."

Michael Lee joined WOSU in 2021, but was previously an intern at the station in 2018. He is a graduate from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism where he obtained his master's degree, and an alumnus of Ohio State University. Michael has previously worked as an intern at the Columbus Dispatch and most recently, the Chicago Sun-Times.