Cape PD takes next step to full body cam rollout

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Cape Girardeau Police Department is drafting a policy on how to implement body-camera technology.

This is a positive development for the local department.

The use and retention of body camera video adds another level of accountability and protection for our police.

The department has been testing and evaluating bodycams for a while. Now the department is taking the next step.

The Cape Girardeau city budget for the current fiscal year includes a $54,000 allocation for the police division to purchase the cameras. That allocation is funded through the city's casino revenue fund.

A police spokesman said implementation will include cameras for the dozen or so officers working the streets on any given day, including patrols, traffic details and possibly nuisance abatement.

Other details are unknown at this point. More information will come forward as the department establishes its policy.

The department continues to add innovations, and we count bodycams among them, even though many departments across the country, including neighboring Jackson, already have them. Cape Girardeau has been testing different models for quite some time. Many departments do not have the body cameras, particularly smaller departments.

The cameras are not perfect, and there are many issues at play, including privacy of suspects and witnesses, retention, cybersecurity and more.

But there are more reasons than not to have the cameras, and we applaud the department and the city for taking this step.

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