WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Officials say all Wichita police officers will be wearing body cameras by the end of next year.
Interim Police Chief Nelson Mosley said the police department is adding 450 cameras to the 60 it already has. He said it will take about a year to outfit all officers with the devices because many other police departments are also ordering them.
Mosley said additional staff will need to be hired to manage the video recordings and that clear policies will have to be established on operating the technology.
A police union representing Wichita law enforcement said it supports the use of the cameras.
“Body cameras are a silent witness to the interaction between officers and residents,” said president Paul Zamorano of the Fraternal Order of Police. “They would help protect the public from police misconduct and protect the officers from false allegations, while also providing invaluable information when there are conflicting accounts of an officer’s actions during the call.”
The devices will cost an estimated $1.5 million, which will come from the existing city budget, The Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/1tLx6P6 ) reported. City officials say that they will look at what changes can be made in some programs to cover the cost.
“We don’t have $1.5 million sitting in reserve that we can revert to cameras,” City Manager Robert Layton said. “Everything’s on the table right now” as a potential funding source, he said.
The announcement about body cameras follows an Aug. 28 community forum, called #NoFergusonHere, organized in response to protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the fatal, officer-involved shooting of Michael Brown.
Those who attended the meeting asked police and city officials about policies on officer-involved shootings.
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