- Associated Press - Friday, January 30, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - In a story Jan. 29 about a bill that would require Kansas law enforcement officers to wear body cameras, The Associated Press erroneously reported the amount of money that the Lenexa Police Department spent its 100 cameras. It spent $90,000, not $900,000.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Kansas police officers may be required to wear body cameras

Kansas mulls requiring police to wear body cameras, but opponents worry about costs


Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas lawmakers are considering a bill that may require police officers to wear body cameras, but opponents of the proposal argue that the costs may outweigh the benefits.

The Senate Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee heard testimony Thursday on legislation that would require all officers to wear body cameras and continually record their activities and interactions. The proposal mandates that portions of the recorded footage relevant to investigations, official complaints or show the use of force would be stored for three years. Archived video could then be requested by those involved in the incidents or their attorneys.

Rep. Gail Finney, a black Democrat from Wichita, testified in favor of the proposal, and said many of her minority constituents have complained of racial profiling by police. She also fears her children and grandchildren could be victims of excessive force.

“I’m afraid that my babies could be just driving down the street and they could be pulled over and make one mistake, and they could lose their life. We are afraid that innocent people’s lives are at stake,” Finney said. “I think by implementing a policy such as this, it would really help ensure much more goodwill between law enforcement and the community.”

Following last year’s shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer, several public figures including President Barack Obama have backed measures to put cameras on police officers.

Several cities and counties in Kansas have already equipped police with body cameras, and the Wichita Police Department announced in December that every one of its officers would be equipped with one by the end of the year.

However, Lenexa Police Maj. Dawn Layman said after the hearing that while her department has found the cameras useful, she opposed mandating them for all Kansas police without providing funding and other support for the endeavor. Layman said that Lenexa has spent $90,000 on its department’s 100 cameras and an additional $200,000 for the storage needed to archive the footage.

Furthermore, Layman said her department would have to hire at least 10 full-time employees to review the captured footage assuming officers, only recorded about two hours of footage per day. If the officers recorded continuously, as the bill would require, then the cost of managing footage would surge to over $1 million, she said.

“We love our body-worn cameras, they’ve been good for us, but I think I have concerns about other people getting into it and having to move towards it when this is all evolving still,” she said.

Republican Sen. Forrest Knox of Altoona said after the hearing that although the cameras are “an excellent idea,” they wouldn’t fit with many rural police departments. He said there are over 50 towns in his district with fewer than 2,600 residents and their police departments would not have the resources to manage all of the footage they capture.

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