St. Charles County delays putting body cameras on police - KMOV.com

St. Charles County delays putting body cameras on police

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By BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI By BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

(KMOV.com) – A member of the St. Charles County Council said many questions have to be answered before body cameras are outfitted on the county’s police officers.

“The jury is still out on all these kind of questions, but have they all been answered before we rush into these? Is this a knee jerk reaction on rushing into these and putting body cameras on police officers,” said St. Charles County Councilman Joe Brazil. “Don’t get me wrong, police should be monitored, but to what degree? What degree does it infringe upon the public’s right to privacy?”

Brazil has pushed to have the funding stripped from the budget, but the $400,000 that has been appropriated remains in the budget but will not be used to purchase cameras until the council approves such a buy. Brazil believes those who support using the cameras have good intentions. US Attorney General Eric Holder has pushed for such cameras to be used by police departments around the country. Several St. Charles residents told News 4 they support the idea.

Incoming St. Charles County Police Chief David Todd is expected to address the body camera issue in 2015. Some legislators in Jefferson City are looking to pass bills in the upcoming legislative session that balance the public’s right to know with privacy.

“I would ask you to not to support the purchase of these things unless number one, we have the privacy protections you’ve been talking about and number two, we have the protocols that the department will help us put together to make sure there are not abuses,” said St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann.

Wentzville police are already using body cameras and supporters say cameras and the evidence gathered from them leads to a reduction in complaints against officers.

“Don’t get me wrong, police should be monitored, but to what degree?” said Brazil. “What degree does it infringe upon the public’s right to privacy?”

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