September 26, 2016
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The Kansas City Police Department took another step into the digital age on Monday, September 26, as it demonstrated one of roughly 30 body cameras that will be tested by officers over the next three months as part of a new 90-day trial.
Police officer Kevin Zoellner conducted a 1:30 p.m. demo of the new equipment at KCPD’s Central Patrol Division (1200 Linwood Blvd) on Monday. According to a press release issued by KCPD, the 90-day test is meant to determine what kind of data storage would be necessary to sustain a department-wide body camera deployment. The trial period will also be utilized to estimate the cost of the storage, test the department’s body-worn camera policies, collect feedback from officers, and identify any potential upgrades that will be required of the department’s information technology.
The press release further indicated that KCPD has spent more than a year meeting with community members and researching the trials and tribulations of other agencies who have already implemented body cameras.
“We’ve seen other agencies rush to get the cameras out and then have to pull them back because they couldn’t afford the storage costs or other issues,” KCPD Chief Darryl Forté said. “We don’t want that to happen in Kansas City. If we promise something to people, we want to be able to keep that promise.”
There will be no cost attached to the 90-day trial period other than roughly $1,000 budgeted in overtime costs to provide proper equipment training to officers. About 25 cameras will be field-tested during the trial, with units going to urban and suburban patrol divisions. KCPD officials indicated that the footage compiled during the test will be handled the same way that the department handles dashboard video. All footage will be subject to provisions of the Missouri Sunshine Law, although video can’t be released if it’s “evidentiary in nature.”