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Franklin County plans to spend $1.5 million on digital evidence storage

A body-worn camera on a person in uniform.
Franklin County Sheriff's Office

Franklin County Commissioners are expected to vote Tuesday on a plan to spend up to $1.5 million on a new digital evidence storage system.

The five-year contract is with Axon, the same company that makes the body cameras worn by Columbus police officers. Commissioners say using the same company offers “unique compatibility” with the large amounts of body camera footage that have to be stored as evidence.

The new system will use an unlimited cloud-based technology to store the data, instead of using disks and drives to store the audio and video.

The massive amount of data storage needed for the body camera system was one of the reasons police leaders initially fought the launch of cameras. Columbus announced its police body camera program in 2015 and started equipping officers with cameras the following year.

The city recently signed another camera contract with Axon that could last up to five years and cost taxpayers up to $19 million. The contract pays for the latest generation of cameras, which will turn on automatically whenever a gun is unholstered, or a rifle or shotgun is released in the cruiser. The cameras will also turn on automatically whenever a cruiser activates lights and sirens, accelerates quickly or is in a collision.

The body cameras and cruiser cameras will also activate automatically if another camera in the vicinity is activated.

Until now officers have had to manually activate their cameras.

Corrected: September 27, 2022 at 7:58 AM EDT
The headline originally stated that Columbus, not Franklin County, was making the digital evidence purchase.