I discussed back in February the news that the Crystal City Police Department was considering purchasing body cameras for officers. At the time, Chief Jeff McCreary said, “It will be a funding issue. Budgets are tight.”
In the wake of the events in Ferguson, the issue of body and dash cameras has received much attention. The Post-Dispatch published an article last week on local departments considering the purchase of body cameras. The article revealed that:
Jeff McCreary, police chief in Crystal City, said his department in Jefferson County experimented with the cameras but “budgetary issues brought on by the economy of the area prevents their immediate purchase.”
I asked the Crystal City PD for more information on this decision on the department Facebook page and got this response from McCreary:
Sure…I think people would want to know since the news puts down snippets of information. The operational budget of the police department is barely over 50k this year and has declined every year I’ve been the Chief. All budget numbers associated with purchase data storage etc. Would have to be figured into aquisition. Aside from the budgetary issue, all of our patrol vehicles are equipped with in-car video systems. While they are not perfect, neither are body cams. The perception is that body cameras will capture everything. They will not and neither will dash cams. The use and implementation of body cameras is multi faceted and it would be very hard to get into every detail. However, I support their use and will explore avenues to aquire them.
I salute McCreary for working to acquire body cameras, and I hope he succeeds and that he inspires other JeffCo law enforcement agencies (or elected representatives) to do the same.