© 2022 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
IPR News

Sioux City Police Using Body Cameras

courtesy Sgt. Jeremy McClure
Sioux City Police Department
The Sioux City Police Department recently fully deployed body-worn cameras for officers to use while interacting with the public. The city council approved the purchase in August.

Sioux City police recently began using body cameras while interacting with the public, a move the city's elected officials say they hope will build trust and accountability.

Sioux City Police Chief Rex Mueller said during a news conference Thursday that police phased the 120 body-worn cameras into operation in less than eight weeks, “by starting them in small units, phasing them out to patrol watches and then eventually the entire department to the point where we are today where every officer has access to a body camera.”

All uniformed officers, school resource officers and special investigation personnel each have a body camera, while uniformed detectives are able to check out a body camera when they’re involved in an activity where they expect enforcement to be taken. Mueller said the cameras will be turned on whenever officers are interacting with the public.

“Now, they are not on at all times,” Mueller said. “[Officers] stop and get a soda during their shift, they’re not going to turn them on. But should they come across a situation where they anticipate they’ll be making citizen contact or conducting enforcement action, they will then activate those cameras.”

Mayor Pro Tem Dan Moore said some of the goals are to document crime and accident scenes and to help review cause for arrests. Other goals, outlined in the police department’s policy on body-worn cameras, include verifying an officer’s testimony in court and to provide additional information for officer training.

“As we embark on this new chapter of law enforcement, may it help continue to build the trust within our community and provide accountability for our citizens and for our police officers,” Moore said. “We further hope that this new chapter will further community policing goals of transparency, relationship building and equitable policing.”

Mueller said the footage from arrests and critical incidents are saved “pretty much forever.” Footage from other instances of day-to-day contact with people are deleted after around two years.

Back in August, the Sioux City Council approved the purchase of 120 body-worn cameras and the necessary hardware and software for roughly $261,000. The money for the body cameras came from funds generated through red light and speed cameras.