KCPD says body-worn cameras too expensive for officers to wear - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

KCPD says body-worn cameras too expensive for officers to wear

There will be no police body cameras in Kansas City - at least for now. The police department says the price tag is too steep. (AP) There will be no police body cameras in Kansas City - at least for now. The police department says the price tag is too steep. (AP)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

There will be no police body cameras in Kansas City - at least for now. The police department says the price tag is too steep.

The Kansas City Police Department just completed a 12-week pilot program where some squads wore body cameras.

Each camera costs hundreds. The real sticker shock for the department and others is what it costs to store the video.

The police department was loaned 25 body cameras for three months.

"We're doing it with officers in urban stations, suburban stations, tactical officers, motorcycle officers," Mjr. Richard Scott Glaeser said.

The trial period is over and the department crunched the numbers. It would cost $3.2 million for storing all the video in a standard five-year contract.

It would cost an additional $2.1 million for the equipment and another $2.2 million for salary and benefits to hire the people to handle video requests.

Interim Police Chief David Zimmerman says the $7.5 million total price tag is just too expensive.  

"Philosophically, we support body-worn cameras and want to implement them as soon as is feasible. But in our research, we have found too many agencies that – in an effort to launch body-worn cameras quickly – created a program that was unsustainable. Some are even being forced to roll back their programs. We have taken a very measured approach because we want to be good stewards who will keep the promises we make. If we say we’re going to implement body-worn cameras, we will, and we will have the storage, infrastructure and personnel to properly support and maintain them," Zimmerman posted on his blog.

"The use of body cameras by local law enforcement is a sign of transparency that officers are wanting to work with the public ... that law enforcement is part of the public," Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp said.

Some Jackson County deputies wear them. In March, the Shawnee Police Department announced their officers would wear cameras.

"It can help us build better cases for successful prosecution. There is increased transparency with the cameras which is crucial for the public to know. There is also accountability for the officers," Shawnee Police Chief Rob Moser said.

Greenwood, MO was the first to use them department-wide.

"I believe the body cameras are the next step in law enforcement. I think in order to keep up with the times, it's a necessity," Greenwood Police Chief Greg Hallgrimson said.

For now, Kansas City has dash camera video inside all patrol cars. Officers can be heard on microphones and there is a limited visual range.

Those videos have been used in recent civil settlements where Kansas City police officers were accused of crossing the line.

Bandwidth is another problem in Kansas City. Transporting all the video around from cars and body cameras to a storage point just isn’t possible. So the department is going on the record saying they support body cameras, they just can’t afford it.

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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