Crime

KCK outfits 30 officers with body cameras as police department evaluates vendors

About 30 police officers in Kansas City, Kansas, will be outfitted with body-worn cameras from different companies for the next month, the department said Monday.

The officers will receive training from each company and report their experiences with the cameras as part of a multi-vendor evaluation.

Police officials then expect to pick a company to buy from, the department said in a statement.

The evaluation tentatively began Monday and was expected to end Oct. 16. Officers testing the gear were instructed on the department’s body camera policy, which includes requirements for when to start recordings, according to the department.

The technology, the department said, is designed to “increase transparency and accountability, and reduce agency liability.”

The announcement comes two months after Overland Park voted to approve its police department’s plan to spend $430,000 on body cameras without a bidding process.

Several area law enforcement agencies, including the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Gladstone and Lenexa police, already have equipped their patrol and field officers with body cameras.

Kansas City police officers do not wear body-worn cameras. The department experimented with cameras in 2016 when 50 patrol, tactical response, bike patrol and motorcycles officers participated in a 12-week study.

“We remain open to discussions with the city to identify sources of funding for body cameras,” Kansas City police spokesman Jake Becchina told The Star in July.

BEHIND OUR REPORTING

How we did this story

The Star received a news release Monday morning from the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department announcing the body camera test. The story also drew on previous reporting on body camera initiatives in other area police agencies.

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Luke Nozicka covers local crime and federal courts for The Kansas City Star. Before joining The Star, he covered breaking news and courts for The Des Moines Register.
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