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Town hall in Jefferson City addresses citizen concerns about lack of officer body cameras for police


Building Community Bridges held a town hall meeting Thursday night along with the Jefferson City Police Department to discuss the implementation of body cameras for the department and address people's concern.

People at the town hall shared their own experiences with the department Thursday, on why body cameras are so important.

People were encouraged by organizers to come with questions, concerns and suggestions.

The new Jefferson City Police Chief Eric Wilde.

The new Jefferson City Police Chief Eric Wilde spoke at the meeting. Wilde said the department hopes the cameras can help the department build better trust within the city.

"I feel body cameras is going to help build trust with the community and show you we not afraid to let you into our world and see what we see everyday because we know we're doing it right," Chief Wilde said.

Wilde said the department is working to get the cameras and has applied for a grant from the Department of Justice to purchase the cameras.

The department hopes to purchase 90 body-worn cameras for all officers and the chief.

Wilde said they will use the Bureau of Justice Assistance body worn camera program, to make sure they use to cameras correctly.

The department is working on its body camera policies and training. Wilde said the policies will be specific to the type of camera they purchase.

In May, the city council of Jefferson City approved the police department to apply for a grant for up to $180,000 to cover some of the cost of body cameras. JCPD anticipates the total cost for the cameras is $665,643. The extra money would need to come from the city budget or through taxes.

JCPD has requested a grant from the Department of Justice that would help to purchase the body cameras.

The department has been trying to get body cameras for several years but has not been able to due to expenses.

The department has discussed internally what a policy for using body cameras would look like, but that information is not readily available to the public yet.

Several local police agencies either already have body cameras or are also looking to get them. Columbia Police Department was the first agency in Missouri to start using body cameras on its entire force.

Wilde said the department along with Building Community Bridges will continue to hold town halls. They plan to hold one on addiction and recovery in the future.

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Leila Mitchell

Leila is a Penn State graduate who started with KMIZ in March 2021. She studied journalism and criminal justice in college.


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