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KCPD chief updates board of police commissioners about body camera research

KCPD to provide update on body cam research
Posted at 6:41 AM, Jul 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-10 13:36:23-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Police Chief Rick Smith updated the board of police commissioners about the department's research into equipping officers with body-worn cameras at a meeting Tuesday morning. 

The department requested camera companies submit proposals to the city by August 21. Then the city will compare all the proposals and pick one company to move forward with by the end of September. 

Ideally, KCPD said it would like to add 1,000 body cameras and about 340 new dashboard cameras to replace the ones currently in squad cars. 

The department first started looking into body cameras in 2016. Smith has previously said he didn't want to rush into a decision about body cameras after seeing other departments bite off more than they could chew.

"We continue to progress through this process. I wanted everyone to know that we haven't stopped working on this since the day I became chief and long before, so the department is still heading towards that achievement of getting body cameras, it's just we want to make sure we do it right," said Smith. 

The cameras add transparency to the department, hold officers accountable and protect evidence for investigators and prosecutors. 

On the flip side, it is expensive to store all the video files. The department would have to find a way to protect the privacy of crime victims and may have to hire more employees to manage the program. 

"We really don't know how much it's going to cost until we start getting bids, and so part of the process is to go through and find out how much and what company and how much each company is going to cost when we start looking to the mechanics of where we're at," said Smith. 

One city councilman said federal grants may be available to offset some of the city's cost.