Tonight at 10: 'Body of Evidence' special report - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Tonight at 10: 'Body of Evidence' special report

SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) -

Should all police officers wear body cameras?

It’s a question that’s been asked dozens of times over the past 14 months after a number of high-profile cases involving officer conduct and public safety.

Incredible LOCAL police body camera footage highlights the split second decisions officers are forced to make on a daily basis.

Tune in for “Body of Evidence,” a Heartland News Special Report tonight on Heartland News at 10.

Then after the story airs, join Kathy Sweeney on her Facebook page “Kathy Sweeney KFVS” for a live video chat about the report. Chime in with what you think about local officers wearing body cameras and your right to privacy.

In the wake of the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson, lawmakers filed dozens of measures to address the use of body cameras and changes to the state’s deadly force statute.

Last spring, President Obama announced his administration would provide $20 million in grants to local police departments to help buy body cameras for officers.

In the Heartland, Sikeston’s Department of Public Safety began using a handful of body cameras more than a decade ago.

Chief Drew Juden says most citizens probably aren’t aware the officers even have them.

“They get caught up in the moment and that’s probably the furthest thing from their mind at that time,” Juden said.

I asked Juden if every department should use them.

“I think it’s a decision that each department has to make,” Juden responded. “Again, it’s a huge financial investment and there’s a lot of departments that won’t have the resources to make that type of investment.”

When an officer approaches a member of the public and a body-worn camera is rolling, what kind of promise of privacy do they have?

“Currently, the Sunshine Law doesn’t really cover on-officer video,” Juden said. “We’ve taken the tact or the position that we’re going to protect the public. We’re going to hold that video private unless we have a court order to release that video.”

What if I’m on the video?

“I think if you’re on it, you’re entitled to look at it. But, I don’t think the general public should have access to a video they’re not involved in.”

Chief Juden did decide to take the unusual step of sharing some of his officers’ body camera video with us so we can show you what calls look like from the officer’s perspective. 

From a routine traffic stop to a dangerous pursuit, you’ll get to see local officers in action.

And, Juden says, there’s a real concern when it comes to the privacy of the citizen on the other side of that lens.

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