Derby police chief says he wants his men in body cams

Police on scene of Derby shooting, Tuesday, August 11th, 2015. (KSN photo / Nicholas Kieffer)

DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – The city of Derby is working to complete its 2018 budget which needs to be in to the Sedgwick County Clerk’s office by August 25.

Derby’s Police Department has asked that the budget support its growing force with more bodies and resources.

“I think accountability is a huge issue when you talk about body cameras,” said Derby Police Chief Robert Lee.

Lee is looking to address those issues with at $87,000 proposal to equip each of his officers with body cameras.

“From a law enforcement perspective, I don’t think we have anything to fear for body cameras,” explained Lee. “I think it’s a good thing for us and a good thing for the community as well.”

The Derby Police Department has had dash cams in all of their police units for 15 years. However, body cams will allow for a more in-depth perspective of the interaction between civilians and officers on a daily basis. Lee says this may improve the trust between law enforcement and the community.

“We’re looking at it to see if it’s the best thing for this community and that will be a decision that city council will have to make,” said Lee. “I think we have done our job to present them with the facts the best that we know them.”

Derby’s city manager said she is in full support of the body cameras but does have a few concerns about the ripple effect of costs after the initial $87,000.

“It’s like DNA was a decade ago, it’s new,” explained Derby’s city manager, Kathy Sexton. “It’s technology in law enforcement and of course you have to do it. You can’t pass up the opportunity to change with the times but you also have to recognize that there’s a lot of costs involved.”

Some of these costs include: any additional storage for the body cams, records staff, and cost of prosecutors.

No decision has been made yet on the proposal but the city manager plans to have Derby’s complete budget in by the end of summer.

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