High costs prompt city leaders to consider alternatives for police bodycams

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- City council members are learning more about police plans to equip hundreds of officers with body cameras.

There are concerns about startup costs estimated at $6 million.

Police commanders say they fully support using body cameras in conjunction the current in-car video systems.

A year ago police tested 30 body cameras in a 12 week pilot project.

Those cameras recorded about 147 separate videos a day that needed to be stored for at least 90 days, the time allowed for a citizen to file a complaint about police.

Saving video from the estimated 700 body cams police want is estimated to cost nearly $30,000 a month.

"Many people had questions on the chief's recommendation on it saying it's too expensive right now," said Alissia Canady, chair of the Public Safety Committee. "Other people say there are jurisdictions that have the cameras and they don't have different outcomes so what's the point in having the cameras?"

Canady says when you consider what the city pays out in wrongful death judgments and other settlements of complaints lodged against police, $3 million in startup costs may be a bargain.

A deputy chief says changes in technology may help brings the costs down. Just this week, police in New Jersey moved ahead to use an app on smartphones instead of proprietary body cameras, which greatly reduces their data collection and storage costs.