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Joplin PD gets body cameras - KOAM TV 7

Joplin PD gets body cameras

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

Many Joplin Police Officers now have one extra piece of equipment with them at all times, body cameras.

When Joplin Police Officers stop you, they're not the only ones watching. After months of interest in the equipment, the department now has body cameras.

“Prior to any public outcry about body cameras, but it’s just to document what happens and it gives you the ability to collect evidence sometimes and tells your side of the story in a more clear manner,” says Corporal Chuck Niess with the Joplin Police Department.

The cameras are an addition to the dashboard cameras in every vehicle. Those start recording as soon as an officer turns on the lights. But, officials wanted to create a greater sense of trust between officers and citizens.

“It holds everyone accountable, it provides a record of the citizens, their actions and it also provides a record of the officers’ actions so it makes it where everyone can see what's going on,” says Niess.

The cameras are easy to use, officers simply flip down the lens to start recording and they will record every stop. The department got the cameras to create transparency between the officers and citizens and so far, many residents think that the cameras are a good thing.

“If the public can't trust you, then why should we trust you as a cop? So I think that's important that community should know what’s going on and how they're handling the situations,” says Joplin resident Chase Richmond.

“I get what everyone else gets with the viral videos and everything that you hear like the he said she said stuff which it sounds like the whole body camera thing would be beneficial to kind of clear that air up,” adds resident Elizabeth Eveland.

And the benefits are obvious even after only 1 full day of use.

“It’s already saved some officers from grief on certain instances already so everyone seems to behave a little more when they're on camera,” says Niess.

As of now, the department has 18 body cameras. The plan is to get more when the budget allows.

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