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Sioux City Council OKs Body Cameras For Police

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The `120 body-worn cameras, video storage other means to implement them will cost nearly $261,000.

The Sioux City Council on Monday unanimously approved a plan to buy 120 body cameras for its police department.

The cameras, video storage and needed hardware and software will cost close to $261,000. Sioux City Police Chief Rex Mueller is aiming for the cameras to be operational by late fall. He said his department already has written a policy for using them.

“Our policy right now is drafted for patrol officers to have them on during all contacts with the public,” Mueller said.

Officers will be able to turn off their cameras in cases like talking with a victim about a sensitive matter, but they would have to document why they turned them off. Mueller estimates it will take 6 to 8 weeks for the equipment to be delivered. Then the department will be trained and the body cameras will be integrated into their software.

The city heard from a couple of people in support, including local activist Monique Scarlett who said this is long overdue. Scarlett founded Unity in the Community, which works to bridge the gap between law enforcement and residents.

“What I don’t like is what is happening in Sioux City: us versus them. We can’t have us versus them,” Scarlett said. “Body cameras will be accountability for everyone including our police officers as well as our citizens.”

But Sioux City resident Nic Korleski expressed concerns about the body cameras, especially officers turning them on and off themselves.

“All we’re doing is trying to leave room for error, excuses for ‘I forgot to turn it on,'” Korleski said.

The money for the body cameras will come from funds that are generated through red light and speed cameras in the city.