Auxvasse law enforcement embraces new body cameras

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AUXVASSE- Auxvasse police officers are now testing a new type of body camera. Department officials noticed flaws with timing and accuracy in the previous body cams during urgent situations.

Auxvasse Police Chief Kevin Suedmeyer said the new cameras will work better with the officer's arrest procedure by recording at all times, starting to store data at the time the button is pushed, as well as the few minutes before.

Suedmeyer said, "Half the time the incident we want recorded gets missed by the time the officer has completed his initial duties and presses the record button. The cameras will let us backtrack and get those important moments before he hits record."

Auxvasse is only one of many mid-Missouri towns embracing the idea of body cams on law enforcement officers. Fulton police officers have been trying out different types of body cams for the last year and a half. The Ashland Police Department plans to start using body cams soon and is currently in the process of finding the best fit for the department. Columbia patrol officers are fully equipped with body cams and have them in use.

Although most local department officials recognize how body cams could benefit their officers, the cost of the cameras is keeping some from investing. Jefferson City Police Department Captain Doug Shoemaker said there are many factors that make the decision more difficult.

Shoemaker said, "There's a few things that go into the thought process for body cams like funding, privacy issues, and a lack of research."

The Cole County Sheriff's Department is working toward body cams, but is hesitating. Captain John Wheeler explained the cost includes more than just the purchase of the camera itself. Storage of the data and a way to secure it are two other costs the department is looking into. Wheeler said officials are working on the budget now and hope to incorporate body cams into it.