KCPD set to test body-worn cameras

Publish Date 09/26/2016

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KCPD Media Unit

The 90-day test is to determine what kind of data storage would be necessary to sustain a department-wide body camera deployment and the cost of that storage and any needed upgrades to KCPD’s information technology. The test also should reveal any issues with the department’s proposed policy on body-worn cameras and get feedback from officers who use them.

A work group of members of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department have spent more than a year meeting with other community members, researching lessons learned at other agencies and studying federal directives in preparation for the implementation of body cameras in Kansas City, Mo.

“We’ve seen other agencies rush to get the cameras out and then have to pull them back because they couldn’t afford the storage costs or other issues,” Chief Darryl Forté said. “We don’t want that to happen in Kansas City. If we promise something to people, we want to be able to keep that promise.”

A vendor has loaned KCPD about 25 cameras to test. The only cost to the department for the 90-day test will be about $1,000 for overtime related to training officers how to use the equipment.

The cameras will be tested on officers who work in urban and suburban patrol divisions, as well as in specialized units like Traffic Enforcement and Bike Patrol. The department wants to ascertain the amount of video footage and the accompanying data that will be generated by officers who work in a variety of assignments and environments. Officers who use the cameras also will be surveyed about their experience with them.

Footage generated during the test will be treated the same as police dashboard camera video: it is subject to provisions of the Missouri Sunshine Law and cannot be released if it is evidentiary in nature.

At the conclusion of the 90-day test period, department officials should have an accurate estimate on the cost of storing body camera footage on a department-wide level to present to City officials for budget consideration.