Springfield City Council in support of body cams for police officers

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Springfield City Council is in support of providing body cams for police officers, and police chief Paul Williams says the department has been asking for them for a long time.

Williams says the body cams will be beneficial for both police officers and the public.

“Evidence that might be gained during an interview of a witness, or if there’s a use of force example, for sure,” said Williams. “That’s the number one thing people want to see. I think it’s good to provide an additional piece of information, an additional tool.”

City manager, Jason Gage, says to purchase 240 body cameras will supply all Springfield police officers and provide one year of maintenance and licensing will be around $612,000.

The cameras will have a five year life, so for the next four years, with maintenance and hiring technicians, that will be another $200,000 a year.

“This is about a million dollar type total expense in that five years, if that stays the same, average about $200,000 a year,” said Gage. “Just depends on how much is paid in the first year versus the following years. We’re kind of hopeful the cost will come down, now that technology cost has come down in the last year, so we’re hopeful it’ll come down more. Because it is a million dollar purchase, we want to take it seriously and do it the right way. It’s very important.”

There will be no formal actions needed from city council for about three months.

According to Williams, the body cams will increase transparency in the department and be an additional piece of evidence to be used for prosecution, or if there is a complaint against the officer.

If the department receives body cams, there will be policy reviews and training before the officers start utilizing them.

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