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Derby police to give school officers body cameras

December 29, 2015

— The police chief in the Wichita suburb of Derby says his department will outfit its four school resource officers with body cameras as part of a pilot project.

Derby Police Chief Robert Lee said the department will spend about $7,400 on the cameras, and he anticipates the school resource officers will be equipped by March. The pilot project is expected to last a year, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Lee said the Police Department is considering equipping all 47 of its officers with body cameras. The pilot program with the school resource officers, who work regular patrol beats in the summer, will help determine whether the department wants to invest further in cameras, Lee said.

"Cameras are a good thing for law enforcement," Lee said. "I have no issues with cops having cameras — none at all. It's a matter of affording them; it's a matter of how to store them."

According to estimates given to the department in 2014, Lee said it would cost around $170,000 to equip all officers with cameras and buy server space for the first several years of footage. That's "a lot of money" for a smaller department, he said.

In Wichita, the City Council in July approved spending $2.2 million to outfit each of the city's police officers with body cameras. A goal called for equipping all officers by the end of the year, but the Police Department said that would continue into 2016 because federal funding hadn't come in yet.

If police and the City Council in Derby decide to move forward with equipping all officers, that wouldn't happen until at least 2017. Lee said funding would come from the 2018 budget year.

"Accountability and transparency are huge issues right now, and quite honestly the public has every right to have very high expectations of their police," Lee said. "There's nothing wrong with that."

Originally published at: http://www.bonnersprings.com/news/2015/dec/29/derby-police-give-school-officers-body-cameras/