Ashland looks to add police car dash cameras

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ASHLAND - Police body cameras may be all the talk these days, but one mid-Missouri police department is searching for funds to purchase police car dash cameras. The Ashland Police Department is reaching out to community service programs in search of funding.

Local businesses that have such programs include Casey's General store, Wal-Mart and Boone Electric Cooperative. The Police Department wants three cameras, which cost about $10,000 total.

"I'm asking for whatever they're interested in providing," Ashland's Police Chief Lyn Woolford said. "The only thing I put into the application is that the cost of each camera is $3,500. They're certainly welcome to fund all of it, fund whatever part they would like to, or fund none of it."

Woolford made grant requests to the Missouri Division of Highway Safety for the cameras at the end of 2013 and 2014. Both times his requests were denied.

Woolford said a submission error was one reason the Division of Highway Safety denied the most recent request.

"I had the address on the post office box line and the post office box on the physical address line," Woolford said. "Evidently they had to be pretty particular about making the selection, in other words your application had to be perfect front to back."

Woolford said he began looking for other funding options after the latest denied request.

"All I'm doing is trying to make sure that if there is alternative funding available we take advantage of that because we are a small city with limited funds," Woolford said. "I don't want to overlook something that's available and miss out."

Ashland received body cameras this January through city funds, but Woolford said both the dash cameras and body cameras could work well together.

"The body camera is close enough to maybe see facial expressions, bloodshot eyes, things of that nature," Woolford said. "The in-car video would record driver errors before they are stopped."

Ashland currently has two patrol cars and is working on getting a third this year.
Columbia, Fulton, Centralia, Hallsville and Mexico each have police car dash cameras. Sturgeon does not.

Woolford said he hopes to have the dash cameras by the end of the year.