Body cameras for officers to be discussed at city meeting today - KMOV.com

Body cameras for officers to be discussed at city meeting today

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A body camera (KMOV) A body camera (KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

St. Louis Metropolitan Police might soon begin a year-long pilot program aimed at outfitting officers with body cameras.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed says an agreement with a company named Axon would mean a one-year free trial to outfit the entire department with body cameras.

“Everything, all data, equipment, support installations, everything is free to the City of St. Louis,” said Reed.

After the Michael Brown shooting and protests in Ferguson in 2014, there was widespread support for body cameras.

Reed says three-fourths of major city police departments have body cameras. But over the years, departments have grappled with the high cost of equipment and video storage.

Reed says the quality of the equipment has increased and the costs have come down.

“If we decide in year two to keep ‘em right now, the projected cost would be $1,000 per officer,” said Reed.

But there are also privacy issues involved and also questions of who would have the right to the video.

News 4 was told it would be handled on a case by case basis after the filing of a Freedom of Information Act request.

A spokesperson for the police officer’s union says policies and procedures for use would have to be negotiated, but overall the spokesperson said the union overall is agreeable to the idea.

The Board of Aldermen would also have to weigh in. Reed says if the process moves forward with no hitches, the cameras could be on the streets before the end of the year.

Monday, Reed issued a letter to the Board of Estimate & Apportionment asking for the item to be added to the next meeting's agenda, which will take place at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20. Click here to read the letter.

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