Plans to equip STL officers with free body cams
The President of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen wants every police officer in the city to wear a body camera. And he said he has a way to make it happen for free.
President Lewis Reed said he has reached a deal with the maker of the most widely used police body cameras for a one-year free trial. After that, the city could decide whether to lease the cameras for a cost of $1,000 per year, per camera. A savings, said Reed, compared to the tens of millions similarly sized departments have spent buying cameras.
Reed said his plan could also buy the department more trust with citizens.
"Ferguson happened right here at our doorstep," said Reed as he demonstrated the body cams in his city hall office. Since August of 2014 Reed says nearly 75 percent of large police departments in the country have implemented body cams for officers.
"And we're still sitting here and we haven't done anything yet," said Reed who believes the cameras will bring transparency to policing and build trust with the community.
The city's Board of Estimate and Apportionment would have to sign off on Reed's plan before it could happen and the police union would have to sign off on department policies for the cameras.
If the city decides to opt out after the first year, Reed said the company will hand over all recorded video and the city can walk away at no cost.