The Springfield City Council discussed police body cams with city staff during Monday night’s Council meeting, with Council members showing a strong desire to find a way to get the cameras in use by the Springfield police department.
The Council heard from City Manager Jason Gage regarding what it would take for the city to obtain the cameras and have the full time monitoring of the video. The initial cost to the city to have 240 cameras for each officer along with the first year of monitoring will be around $612,000.
Gage said the cameras usually have a life of about five years. When the cost of annual monitoring over that time is factored in, the cost to the city over the life of the cameras would be about $1 million, or a budgeted $200,000 per year after the initial investment.
Gage said that he’s hopeful the cost for the cameras and monitoring will come down over the next few years. He also said because this is a million dollar purchase, he wants to take time to make sure they get the best equipment for the best price.
Gage estimated it could take about three months to get everything together to bring to Council for their approval to purchase the items. If that timetable is kept, officers could begin to use the cameras on the streets in early 2021.
Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams has previously been on the record for favoring body cameras; he said he felt it would help increase transparency for the department, provide additional information to prosecutors, and protect officers who are falsely accused of wrongdoing.