KPD body cameras hit the streets

26 cameras entered the field late last month. (Louis Finley/KTVO)

A bucket list item for Kirksville Police Department Chief Jim Hughes has become a reality this year.

"It's one more tool that helps the community understand that we're putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to being as transparent as we can be," Hughes said.

KPD officers are now armed with their newest tool, a body camera.

"When I got here back in '03 there were a lot of things that I wanted to get done," Hughes said.

26 cameras entered the field late last month.

"I've been interested in this type of technology for years. It's just that the technology wasn't available to do what we in the business wanted it to do," Hughes said.

Increased scrutiny of police officers may have pushed the department.

"I think that got people thinking about it even if they hadn't been before ... and by wearing these it shows we've got nothing to hide," Hughes said.

When officers make a stop or find themselves in precarious situations, they double tap the center to start recording.

"If I were to push this button, it would go back and capture the previous 30 seconds and add that to whatever it is I will be recording," Hughes said.

"It's interesting to see what I learn on how long they spend on calls," said Kirksville police Department's Records Custodian Keri Cordray.

Cordray says accessing the videos creates an audit trail, a measure in place to prevent tampering.

"It says who watched it and when they watched it," Cordray said.

Hughes stressed that these cameras are a tool, not a be-all and end -all.

"This is an objective record of what this sees, but it does not see everything," Hughes said.

None-the-less, it’s changing the job.

“I've been at this 40 years. I've seen a lot of technology change, and this has as big a part of changing the police community interaction in my 40 years in the business,” Hughes said.
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