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Crime, Law & Justice

SPD to Receive Body, In-Car Cameras As Early As February

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Springfield Police Department

 

The Chief of the Springfield Police Department spoke during a recent Springfield City Club meeting. He provided an update on body-worn cameras.

SPD Chief Richard Lewis said officers should be wearing body cameras as soon as February or March. And according to him, officers are mostly excited about the new technology.

“People have the question all the time is, ‘do your officers even want these?’ And I would say the vast majority want these," said Lewis. "And the ones who are hesitant about it, they’re simply hesitant because it’s just a new technology and maybe they’re not used to dealing with.”

SPD will also get in-car video cameras to help capture video when an officer is seated. 

“Unless you’re really tall and sit above the steering wheel, that [body] camera doesn’t see the violations that are happening in front of you, and the reason you’re gonna make that particular stop,” said Lewis.   

The in-car video cameras will be paid for through federal forfeiture money, which are funds that were seized during narcotics investigations. Lewis said these cameras should be in place the same time, if not shortly after, officers begin using body cameras. 

But due to local and state policies, Lewis said cameras can only be turned on at certain times.

“One is, just pure data storage that would be,” said Lewis. “Two is, we don’t want to record things that we’re not supposed to. Think about an officer that goes to a victim of some type of sexual assault. We’re not going to record that obviously. If we go to the hospital, you’ve gotta be careful what you record within the hospital.”

Lewis said cameras should be turned on when an officer has enforcement contact with someone. The cameras will also have the ability to capture footage 30 seconds before they are officially turned on. 

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