KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - The Kansas City Police Department announced Monday that body cameras should be delivered in December and worn by all patrol officers by early next year. KCTV5 News followed up with community members who called for the use of body worn cameras during protests earlier this year.
Some community members are calling this a step in the right direction. The department installed new dash cameras on 310 KCPD patrol vehicles that will work with the new body cameras.
The Kansas City Missouri Police Department has tested body cameras before, but this year the DeBruce Foundation announced in June that it was donating the money needed to purchase them for KCPD officers.
“We are in a season and time of transparency. The more transparent the better. That way we don’t have to rush to judgement. The camera doesn’t have an opinion either way,” Devan Taylor who pushed for the use of body cameras said.
KCTV5 News first introduced you to Devan Taylor in June during protests on the Plaza. He says after Monday’s announcement, he is cautiously optimistic. He wants assurances that body cameras cannot be turned off to hide wrongdoing.
“Cops on duty. Cameras on duty. Very simple to remember. That was an initiative I started in 2017,” Taylor said.
According to KCPD, police department leaders met with prosecutors, clergy and urban core neighborhood leaders to discuss body camera implementation and policies. Specifics about KCPD’s body camera policies have not yet been released. Taylor hopes body camera video will be accessible to the public.
“The people are not benefitting from having it, if it can’t be accessed,” Taylor said.
Officers at the Central and Shoal Creek Patrol divisions and the traffic division tested the new body cameras from August 3rd to August 24th. As soon as specific policies are released, we will keep you informed.