Concerns over interactions between the police and the public have led many police departments to consider body cameras. However, many face funding shortages and must devise other means to purchase the equipment, especially in rural areas. Maya Springhawk Robnett of the Arizona Science Desk reports…
The Wellton Police Department in Yuma County has become the first law enforcement agency in the state to register on a donation website for body cameras. Sgt. David Rodriguez, who has been with the department for 11 years, coordinates the effort.
As a small rural department, he explains that Wellton PD wasn’t able to take advantage of federal grants that have recently become available. "For departments as small as us," Rodriguez says, "like 99.9% of the chance we don’t qualify due to the fact that we only have six officers."
Many police departments are concerned about the technological aspects—namely, storage costs for the video taken by officers. Sergeant Rodriguez says that isn’t likely to be a problem in a department as small as Wellton’s. "Even a two-terabyte external hard drive could hold a lot of video and as the cases get adjudicated and done, we could start disposing of footage that we don’t need no more, per the court requests."
The department needs at least 2-thousand dollars just to get the cameras rolling and will accept donations of any size from the public.