Officers in half of KCPD’s patrol divisions now have body-worn cameras

Publish Date 01/13/2021

Officers in half of KCPD’s patrol divisions are now outfitted with body-worn cameras (BWCs), as part of Phase 1 of the department’s BWC roll-out.

Patrol officers in both Northland divisions – North and Shoal Creek – and Central Patrol Division are now using BWCs. The department currently has 340 of them, and another 475 are on order for Phase 2 of the project. The divisions for Phase 1 were selected due to how their staffing numbers correlated with the numbers of available cameras.

“I think they’re beneficial for both officers and the public,” said Officer Oasha White, an officer in Central Patrol Division who has been wearing one since November 2020.

Yesterday, the Board of Police Commissioners approved the purchase of an additional 475 BWCs. They will be deployed when they are received from the vendor, Turn Key Mobile, which provides Panasonic-brand BWCs. BWC manufacturers throughout America are experiencing high demand from law enforcement agencies, but the department is hopeful they will arrive as scheduled.

Turn Key Mobile was selected from a competitive bid process more than a year ago, and their Panasonic BWCs pair with the new dash cameras installed in KCPD vehicles in 2020. If all goes as scheduled, all KCPD patrol officers will have body cameras by March 2021.

BWCs are one of several changes KCPD has made since calls for police reform in 2020. After including them in the department’s budget request to the City for many years, Chief Rick Smith sought out private funding to purchase them in June 2020. The DeBruce Foundation, in cooperation with the Kansas City Police Foundation, donated the funds to purchase them for patrol officers. Now that all patrol officers are on their way to being outfitted, the department has been awarded a federal grant to outfit detectives with BWCs, as well.