KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Police are considering requiring body cameras on officers to help prevent a Ferguson incident from happening in Kansas City, but not everyone is convinced technology is the solution. Members of the Black Agenda Group told police commanders Monday that millions spent on technology are no substitute for trust.
Police have a committee looking at how Kansas City officers should use body cameras, if at all, in light of a report from California showing use of force by police officers in Rialto dropped 60 percent in the year after they started wearing body cameras.
Kansas City police said a good relationship with the community is the key to preventing racial unrest, like the nation watched last year in Ferguson, Mo. Still police are considering requiring officers to record their interactions with citizens with body cameras.
Members of the Black Agenda Group are concerned that cameras can be turned on and off. And some said spending big bucks on technology don't solve the problem of having cops with bad attitudes.
"In the area where I live I am so tired that we need to have more black officers in my community," said Bill Jones, a member of Parade Park Homes. "Because if you don't live in my community, you are really not concerned about my community. That's the problem not only in Kansas City, but we have throughout this country. We need more officers living in my community so we can hold them accountable to what's happening in my community."
Cost isn't the only consideration in police using body cameras. There are privacy concerns about who would have access to anything recorded. And how long would police have to keep these video records?
Some believe more officers calling crime-plagued neighborhoods their home, regardless of their color, might be a better, cheaper approach to improving relationships and cutting crime.