- Associated Press - Monday, January 16, 2017

WAHOO, Neb. (AP) - Wahoo police officers have stopped using body cameras because the city can’t afford to comply with new state policies, city officials said, but some other departments in the area are continuing the practice.

The City Council voted in December to stop using the cameras after the Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice passed the statewide polices in October, at the behest of the Legislature.

Among the new requirements are training for officers and those who handle the recordings and storage of video and audio recordings for at least 90 days.

Wahoo Police Chief Ken Jackson told the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/2itpqZb) that his small department couldn’t afford the requirements. His officers have used the cameras for seven years, Jackson said, but not nearly as much as the new rules require.

“If you have confidence in your officers, that they’ll report accurately what happens, that’s what you do. You stop,” Jackson said. “The real cost is in the manipulation of the downloading, the storing, the retractions if it is released, and the destruction.”

The cost for Wahoo could have reached more than $15,000, he said.

Before the council voted, Jackson said, members reviewed the city’s insurance policy and discovered there would be no additional liability or concerns if Wahoo police were to stop using the cameras.

Other departments have decided to continue using the cameras.

In Lincoln, Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister said his department changed storage procedures and staffers have received additional training.

Crete Police Chief Steve Hensel said his officers have been retrained.

“There will be added expenses managing the data. However, I believe the value of the recordings exceeds those costs,” Hensel said.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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