Kansas City police to test body cameras for next 3 months

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Police started training officers to wear body cameras on Monday, as part of a test to determine how much it would cost to use the surveillance technology throughout the police force.

It seems like anytime there's a controversial police shooting, there is a public outcry to see video of the incident.

Body cameras increasingly are viewed as a necessary tool to build trust in the community and protect officers from false accusations.

For the next 90 days, at any given time, 25 Kansas City officers will be wearing body cams while on duty to help commanders determine how much it will cost to store video from the cameras.

"Currently with our in-car cameras, we maintain that video evidence for a period of two years," said Maj. Scott Glaeser, commander of the police patrol bureau. "State law only requires us to maintain that information for 30 days. We want to maintain it longer because we feel it’s better to maintain that evidence. We don’t always know that important information that we find out later on."

The city faced many of the same issues when the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime helped bring dashboard cameras to Kansas City in the late 1990s.

"When it comes to the trust that folks have, this just adds to that in some ways," said Damon Daniel, president of Ad Hoc. "Knowing that you have the freedom of taking out your cellphone, but now you also know the police officer will also be wearing a body camera and there’s also dash cam too. The proof will be there."

Police have been researching how best to roll out body cameras department-wide for more than a year. Police have borrowed 30 cameras for this test and say they'll spend less than $1,000 to train officers how to use the equipment.

Police say just like dash cameras, video from body cameras won't be released to the public if it's considered evidence in a case. Otherwise, Missouri's Sunshine law determines when police video can be made public.

The Kansas City Police Department posted body cam video on YouTube.