Staff Editorial: Our thoughts on body cameras for police officers

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As potential (and obligated) financial burdens pile up from the state legislator, the funding is only decreasing. College Lobbyist Dick Carter mentioned a bill that is being talked about in Topeka at the Feb. 17 Board of Trustees meeting. The bill would require all police officers across Kansas to wear a body camera. That bill would include the Campus Po­lice Department.

The installation cost of these cameras at the college would be around $23,000. However, the storage for the footage could be up to $6,000 a month. State funding was recently cut by two percent. One percent is approximately $437,000.

The board didn’t necessarily state if they were for body cameras or not. Their main concern was the cost. Trustee Greg Musil pointed out the obvious during the meeting: State funding is dropping, but the financial obstacles are potentially rising.

California adopted police cameras in 2012. The Wall Street Journal has since reported that complaints against police officers who wore a camera dropped sig­nificantly.

The idea of body cameras on police officers took off after the killing of Mi­chael Brown. It’s terrible that it’s come to this. Look, not all cops abuse their power, and probably not a lot of them do. However, enough cops have abused their power in such a way that a new form of monitoring has to be considered.

Body cameras are certainly an inter­esting idea. Perhaps they’re not a bad one. But in a time of budgetary crisis, they don’t seem like the most logical thing.

Even if cops are supposed to wear body cameras, that doesn’t mean they al­ways will. Additionally, there have been reports of some officers disabling the au­dio or simply turning the camera off.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a country where justice is always served. Almost everyone in the workforce is held accountable by a respective boss. Why should police officers be exempt from that?

 

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