St. Louis County Police Department To Become Largest In Missouri With Mandatory Body Cameras

St. Louis County Police Department To Become Largest In Missouri With Mandatory Body Cameras

By April, the county police department will outfit nearly 700 officers with cameras. But the city’s department of 1,300 does not have a parallel program in the works.

St. Louis County will soon outfit its entire police department with body cameras, becoming the largest department in Missouri to do so.

Nearly 700 officers will wear the cameras at all times by April, St. Louis Public Radio reported. In July, the county council approved a $5 million allocation to pay for the cameras and unlimited data storage. A half-cent sales tax increase for public safety, approved by voters in November 2017, will fund the police department’s five-year contract with its provider.

“I think this is an example of how we’re forward-looking and how we try to set an example for law enforcement in the state,” Jon Belmar, the county police chief, told the radio station.

The decision came after the county piloted body cameras with 75 officers in 2014, shortly after Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a Ferguson police officer sparked a national movement calling for police accountability. Since then, Belmar told SLPR that camera technology has improved and given the department more flexibility in terms of what their cameras can do.

St. Louis County police will wear the cameras mounted on their smartphones and tuck them under their shirt. The officers will also be equipped with Bluetooth wristwatches that alert them if the camera is on, and an in-car router will instantly upload video footage to the cloud.

The department will require officers to turn the cameras on during “all enforcement activities,” including arrests, warrant execution, traffic stops and more. Belmar said officers will receive extensive training that will help ensure they turn on the cameras during these interactions.

County Executive Sam Page, who signed the measure that approved funding for the cameras, said told local news station KSDK that the department will make widely sought video footage available as soon as possible, as long as a public release does not interfere with ongoing investigations.

“We also recognize the public has a right to know, so as fast as we can get relevant video in front of people, we’re going to try to do that," Page said.

Belmar echoed Page’s calls for transparency when carrying out police work, adding that the videos will help provide context to interactions between civilians and officers.

“Obviously accountability is important,” he said. “But one of the most important things is context. Somebody takes a 15-second video on a smartphone of an interaction between an officer and somebody else, there’s no context provided before or after that.”

While the county will soon implement the policy, St Louis City’s department of about 1,300 officers has no parallel body camera program and has not seen much action on the issue since 2017, The Riverfront Times reported. The city’s public safety director, Jimmie Edwards, told the newspaper that he supports a program but that the cost would be “problematic” in the short and long term.

"I envy St. Louis County," Edwards said. "I hope the public realizes that we agree that officer safety is improved with body cameras, as well as public safety and police accountability. We agree with all of that."

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

Featured

  • ASIS International and SIA Release “Complexities in the Global Security Market: 2024 Through 2026”

    ASIS International and the Security Industry Association (SIA) – the leading security associations for the security industry – have released ”Complexities in the Global Security Market: 2024 Through 2026”, a new research report that provides insights into the equipment, technologies, and employment of the global security industry, including regional market breakouts. SIA and ASIS partnered with global analytics and advisory firm Omdia to complete the research. Read Now

  • President Biden Issues Executive Order to Bolster U.S Port Cybersecurity

    On Wednesday, President Biden issued an Executive Order to bolster the security of the nation’s ports, alongside a series of additional actions that will strengthen maritime cybersecurity and more Read Now

  • Report: 15 Percent of All Emails Sent in 2023 Were Malicious

    VIPRE Security Group recently released its report titled “Email Security in 2024: An Expert Look at Email-Based Threats”. The 2024 predictions for email security in this report are based on an analysis of over 7 billion emails processed by VIPRE worldwide during 2023. This equates to almost one email for everyone on the planet. Of those, roughly 1 billion (or 15%) were malicious. Read Now

  • ASIS Announces ANSI-Approved Cannabis Security Standard

    ASIS International, a leading authority in security standards and guidelines, proudly announces the release of a pioneering American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved standard dedicated to cannabis security. This best-in-class standard, meticulously developed by industry experts, sets a new benchmark by providing comprehensive requirements and guidance for the design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and maintenance of a cannabis security program. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

Whitepapers

New Products

  • Compact IP Video Intercom

    Viking’s X-205 Series of intercoms provide HD IP video and two-way voice communication - all wrapped up in an attractive compact chassis. 3

  • ResponderLink

    ResponderLink

    Shooter Detection Systems (SDS), an Alarm.com company and a global leader in gunshot detection solutions, has introduced ResponderLink, a groundbreaking new 911 notification service for gunshot events. ResponderLink completes the circle from detection to 911 notification to first responder awareness, giving law enforcement enhanced situational intelligence they urgently need to save lives. Integrating SDS’s proven gunshot detection system with Noonlight’s SendPolice platform, ResponderLink is the first solution to automatically deliver real-time gunshot detection data to 911 call centers and first responders. When shots are detected, the 911 dispatching center, also known as the Public Safety Answering Point or PSAP, is contacted based on the gunfire location, enabling faster initiation of life-saving emergency protocols. 3

  • A8V MIND

    A8V MIND

    Hexagon’s Geosystems presents a portable version of its Accur8vision detection system. A rugged all-in-one solution, the A8V MIND (Mobile Intrusion Detection) is designed to provide flexible protection of critical outdoor infrastructure and objects. Hexagon’s Accur8vision is a volumetric detection system that employs LiDAR technology to safeguard entire areas. Whenever it detects movement in a specified zone, it automatically differentiates a threat from a nonthreat, and immediately notifies security staff if necessary. Person detection is carried out within a radius of 80 meters from this device. Connected remotely via a portable computer device, it enables remote surveillance and does not depend on security staff patrolling the area. 3