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Readers: Body Cameras For Local Police Worth The Expense

October 2, 2014 Crime, Politics/Policy 2 Comments

In the poll last week readers overwhelmingly indicated they believe body cameras for local police are worth the expense, here are the results:

Q: Are body cameras for local police worth the expense?

  1. Yes 67 [72.83%]
  2. Maybe 13 [14.13%]
  3. No 9 [9.78%]
  4. Unsure/No Opinion 3 [3.26%]

With so many jurisdictions and police departments we’ll likely see a patchwork. One August 20th now suburb voted to equip their officers with cameras:

The Ellisville City Council unanimously approved Wednesday night buying body cameras for each of the city’s 24 officers at a cost of $7,500.

Police Chief Tom Felgate said he thought of making the proposal a year ago. “It’s for the protection of the officers,” said Felgate, who also said the body cameras will likely reduce complaints from violators. (stltoday)

Last month the issue was debated within City Hall:

The cost to outfit the city’s police force with body cameras will come with a price tag of $1.2 million — and that’s just the start.

Richard Gray, the city’s public safety director, told an aldermanic committee on Tuesday morning that the department would need an additional $500,000 to cover labor and maintenance costs, plus an increase in the department’s annual budget of about $800,000 to $900,000 for replacement and maintenance costs. (stltoday)

The police union is speaking up:

The police union said it must agree to any policy covering body cameras before a policy is adopted.

“They can’t employ this equipment without violating the union contract they signed,” said Jeff Roorda with the St. Louis Police Officers Association.

Union representatives told News 4 police and the union must forge an agreement on what the recordings will be used for before any decision is made on whether to use body cameras. (KMOV)

Over the weekend a Ferguson officer was shot in the arm, but the camera wasn’t turned on. Other departments have a way to deal with this:

There’s also an important feature called the pre-event video buffer.

The camera, always on, records half-minute clips. If nothing happens, the piece is erased and the camera starts over. But if an officer spots something and hits the record button, the previous 30 seconds is preserved at the beginning of the recording. (San Francisco Gate)

I’ve not seen any mention of this 30 second buffer in local news reporters.

Further reading:

Hopefully we’ll see more use of body cameras and a reduction of force, citizen complaints.

— Steve Patterson



Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    They’re only “worth the expense” is they’re turned on. The latest shooting in Ferguson, where the officer was wearing a camera, but it wasn’t activated, illustrates a major flaw in the concept and the protocols associated with their operation.


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