The Lake of the Ozarks Police Department has purchased twelve body cameras for use beginning later this month.
The cameras will be mandatory for use by all uniformed officers, according to Police Chief Gary Launderville. The department chose body cameras over the traditional in-car camera as the former allows for increased mobility.
“We can go inside a business, we can go inside a house, down the hill, around the corner. We still get video where we don’t have that with an in-car camera,” said Launderville.
The cameras will cost the department $15,000, which was raised by a state grant and the donations of local businesses. Mayor Johnnie Franzeskos believes the cameras will benefit both the police department and residents.
“I think the way the situation is all over the United States, kind of shows it’s a safety issue for one, kind of protects our officers for another. That was two of the reasons we wanted to get the cams here,” Franzeskos said.
Launderville said his officers were hesitant to use the cameras at first, but that changed.
“The more we tried them out, over a couple month period, the officers changed their way of thinking and they are one hundred percent in favor of them," Launderville said.
Launderville added that the cameras will assist the department in new officer training as well as allow them to better investigate citizen complaints. “If somebody wants to come in and make a complaint, we now have video evidence one way or the other as to whether that complaint is valid.”
The cameras will be implemented later this month, pending review at the Board of Aldermen meeting.