- Associated Press - Friday, July 25, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The Columbia Police Department has purchased 102 body cameras and will outfit all of its uniformed officers, becoming the first city in Missouri to do so, Assistant Chief John Gordon said.

Gordon announced the move Thursday and said the department hopes the cameras will help gather evidence in criminal cases and reduce assaults on officers, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/WH1Tob ).

“It will also increase the transparency and accountability of the Columbia Police Department, assist in the resolution of complaints and increase the efficiency and security of the handling of the evidence,” Gordon said.

A few officers in the department’s downtown unit have used the cameras since 2011 and five more were purchased last year for a pilot project. The department bought the Axon body camera, which is made by Taser International.

The cameras, hardware, installation and a secure website to store the videos cost $100,000, paid for with surplus funds from 2012. A three-year contract with Taser International will cost $40,000 annually for maintenance and data storage at Evidence.com.

Video for court cases will be stored until the prosecutor allows its destruction, Gordon said. Other video will be deleted after 60 days. The Citizens Police Review Board will have access to the videos to investigate complaints against officers.

Training began earlier this week and is expected to finish next week. Prosecutors also are being trained to use Evidence.com, which Assistant Chief Jill Schlude said should speed up the process when police are asked to provide prosecutors with video.

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Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, https://www.columbiatribune.com


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