The Cape Girardeau Police Department has decided to utilize body cameras for their officers on-duty. KRCU’s Lindsey Grojean spoke with public information officer Sergeant Rick Schmidt about the benefits the cameras will have on their department, the community, and the officers themselves.
So what pushed the police department in their decision to utilize body cameras with on-duty officers?
We have been researching body cameras for the department for many months now, trying to make the best educated decision that we could. It’s a decision that we’ve not taken lightly and we have taken a great deal of time and gone through a lot of education making sure that we picked the right body cam fro our police department.
What factors went into picking the right body camera?
We want a body cam that captures as much field of view from wherever the officer wears it. We want a body cam that stores the audio and video image in a way that is tamper resistant, user friendly, easy to operate, and then of course cost effective for us to buy.
Why are you all implementing them now? What are some reasons behind getting the body cameras at this time?
We started the body camera issue months and months ago when it was in the limelight in the national media. It’s a good fit for us, it protects our officers. It’s a good for the community because it gives an audio and visual picture of what went on during the interaction with the officer.
And how do you think this is going to be beneficial to the police department, citizens, and the officers?
Our officers that are already great, it would show us, who maybe don’t get to work with them every day, how great they really are. It will be a lasting impression of how they interacted with the public and how the public interacts with us.
And how are they being funded, and also how much are they?
We have been approved by the city to purchase them in this fiscal year’s budget. how much they are per body cam will depend on which one we ultimately decide on getting, and then they’ll be implemented obviously to the men and women that are on the street 24 hours a day first, and then we’ll make a decision as to how we deal with primarily office people like myself when and if we would even get those.
And when are those being implemented? When are they going to be on the officer's uniform?
Well, we don’t have a set time frame for implementation, because we want to make the best decision that we can, and make sure that we get the perfect fit for the department. So, we haven’t set a timeline for ourselves, but being that it is in this year’s fiscal budget, it will happen sometime in 2018.
Thank you so much, officer Schmidt.