ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – Tensions are bubbling up between St. Louis Police and the officers’ union over the possibility of officers wearing body cameras.
St. Louis Police said it would cost around $1.2 million to outfit all 1300 officers with body cameras. 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.
“This gotcha discipline that we have with the dash board cameras is what we’d be afraid of,” Roorda said.
Public Safety Director Richard Gray said an individual camera would cost $300-$700 but may round out to $1200 once accessory and data and storage costs are added. Other local police departments have told News 4 their cameras will cost around $400 a piece.
“What they have is an incomplete process. The cameras would cost that, but they also need to store the information, charge the product, the camera itself,” Gray said.
After initial start-up costs, Gray said the department would have to increase its annual budget by $800,000-$900,000 to maintain the cameras and their data. Gray said no decisions have been made about how such an effort would be funded.
“I think it’s a good tool and whatever it costs probably is a fraction of the cost to our greater community to have that broken trust,” said 21st Ward Alderman Antonio French.