KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All police patrol officers started wearing body cameras Thursday. KCPD Chief Rick Smith says this reform will help ensure officers are accountable for their actions.
After receiving private funding from the DeBruce Foundation and the Kansas City Police Foundation last year, Smith says all 900 patrol officers are now wearing the monitoring devices. This includes traffic officers, cops walking a beat or on bikes, and tactical officers who serve search warrants.
Police say they’re also getting a federal grant to pay for 400 more body cameras to be worn by detectives and other criminal investigators. The police policy governing body camera records requires that most video not considered evidence be saved for 180 days.
Officers are prohibited from intentionally disabling, damaging or blocking their recording gear, which also includes dash cameras mounted in patrol car.
“I would say to the community: Most officers want that camera running,” Smith said. “I don’t know of too many officers who would ever say, ‘I don’t want a camera today.’ Every officer wants to have that camera.”
Citizens can request that they not be recorded, and officers can turn off their cameras if they determine no enforcement is going to be taken on a particular call.
Detectives can interrogate and record a suspect without their knowledge or consent.
Body camera video is considered a public record, but under Missouri’s Sunshine Law, Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd says if video may be considered evidence of a crime, it cannot be released to the public before a trial takes place.