Bourbon Officers To Be Equipped With Body Cams

Bourbon police officers will be wearing body cams and Mayor Dave Lafferty said October 15 at a council meeting that failure to wear one would be grounds for dismissal.

Lafferty said the body cams would improve the department and protect the city from lawsuits “and everything else.”

The mayor announced a $450 donation from Mike Sewald to purchase a camera, but asked the board to approve another $250 to cover the remainder of the costs. The police department was already in possession of one camera.

Ward 2 Alderwoman Mary Heywood said the city used a body cam in the past to increase effectiveness and that it protected the department from accusations of inappropriate behavior.

“An officer allegedly propositioned a woman,” Heywood recalled. “The father called and was yelling and screaming, so we told him to come down and take a look at the tape. It was a perfect stop.”

The mayor said he thought about cameras being mounted in the cars, but “cars don’t follow you into a residence or everywhere you go.”

Lafferty said School Resource Officer Amanda Rauss will be wearing one of the cams after she requested it.

According to Lafferty, he contacted City Attorney Robert Davis to clear it, which Davis didn’t see an issue with. However, Davis recommended the city contact the school to have them formally request Rauss using a body cam. 

“They did give a letter and she’s now wearing a camera,” Lafferty said. 

The mayor told the board he wanted it to be “black-and-white and plain as day” that officers could be fired if they don’t wear a body cam.

“You can be terminated,” he said.

The board discussed who could review the footage. 

In Missouri, HB 1936 — passed in May 2016 — prevents the public from accessing video taken by police cameras mounted on vehicles and attached to uniforms during ongoing investigations.

Police video recorded at “nonpublic locations,” like homes, schools and hospitals, could remain off-limits to the public even after investigations are completed.

In 2015, HB 762, which failed to pass, would have prohibited police dash camera and body camera videos to the public unless there was a court order to open the videos.

 

Sullivan Independent News

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