WPD buys 106 more police body cameras

WICHITA, Kansas – Wichita police just bought 106 more body cameras. The hardware has arrived.

It’s a deal worth $2.2 million, and the cams are being purchased from Taser International.

“Citizen complaints go down because it’s on record,” says Wichita City Council member Pete Meitzner. “And accountability by the officers seem to be pretty good.”

Meitzner says he loves the idea. But, the cameras are not being deployed just yet.

“We are finalizing our processes for how and when an officer uses the cameras,” said Wichita Police Captain Brian White. “We are still going to have public input on the issue of the taser use policy.”

The deal includes $700,000 for the first purchase. Then another $360,000 a year will go towards operating costs.

In all, there will be a wearable body camera assigned to each of the 429 patrol officers on the force.

“We are waiting to buy the rest of the cameras,” said White. “We have applied for a Federal grant of $250,000. If that grant does not come through, we will pull money from other areas. But, we should know on that (Federal grant) in the next couple of weeks.”

Money from other areas could include dollars used to operate the Wichita police helicopter.

City leaders say the body camera use policy is key to deployment.

“We want accountability. We want transparency,” says Meitzner. “But we have to review carefully the privacy concerns as well. But… body cameras is just a good idea.”

 

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