Boonville Police Officers will begin using body cameras when they are out patrolling the city. The cameras are now in and officers will soon be trained how to use them. The question now is, what if someone wants to view this footage outside of the police force or investigation? This question is being asked in the Missouri Legislator after concerns have been brought up since anyone can potentially view footage of a raid or arrests with Missouri's Sunshine Law.

Boonville Police Officers will begin using body cameras when they are out patrolling the city. The cameras are now in and officers will soon be trained how to use them. The question now is, what if someone wants to view this footage outside of the police force or investigation? This question is being asked in the Missouri Legislator after concerns have been brought up since anyone can potentially view footage of a raid or arrests with Missouri's Sunshine Law.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster urged lawmakers to protect the cameras' footage from those who would "monetize it or use it to exploit the people it depicts."
According to a story in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Koster noted that interest in the cameras has spiked since last fall, when a Ferguson police officer fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown and civil unrest followed. The shooting was not captured on camera.
"Widespread adoption of body-worn cameras can offer clarity regarding law enforcement encounters with the public and enhance public safety," Koster told the dispatch. "We must, however, listen to the serious and legitimate concerns of the law enforcement community that looks to us for responsible leadership in deployment of such technology."
This legislation could impact Boonville as video may be made available to anyone under a granted sunshine request.
"My thoughts are that the legislature is trying to address the Sunshine Laws as they relate to body-worn cameras because of personal privacy issues. In the past our dash cameras could not record anything inside of a building or residence. With the body-worn cameras that will change. The issue is what the public should be able to access those recordings in the future and what interest they have in any recording," Boonville Police Chief Bobby Welliver stated. "My personal opinion is that unless a person can show a valid reason they should have access to videos where privacy is concerned they should not be allowed to have them."
Local Boonville citizen Judy Stock and Joe Miller are in full support of body cameras.
"Body cameras may give law enforcement a very useful investigative tool. For instance, there are many times an officer stops a motorist, and the motorist will be accused of resisting arrest. The motorist accuses the officer of malfeasance or police brutality. A dash-cam should show part of what is going on, and a body cam could show the rest of it. It is a way of putting on film what actually happened. In addition, it is possible for a camera  to pick up something unseen by the officer, which comes to light when the film is checked closely," Stock said.
"I think cameras are a good thing. Everyone needs to be held accountable," Miller said.
Miller added he would like to see full transparency when it comes to the cameras. Miller said he thinks felony arrest footage should be made available to the public, but any misdemeanor should not.
Until legislation in Jefferson City is finalized the BPD has to depend on current rules and regulations in place. According to documentation from the BPD, it wants to accurately document events, actions, conditions and statements made during an arrest.
Below is policy regarding body worn cameras,
• Body-worn cameras are issued to all sworn personnel as authorized by this agency. Uniformed officers must use the equipment unless otherwise authorized by supervisory personnel. Plain clothes officers may use the cameras at their discretion.
• Officers will activate the body-worn camera during all enforcement stops and field interview situations and any other time the officer believes that a recording of an on-duty contact may be useful. Once started, recordings should continue without interruption until the contact ends.
• Officers have discretion to turn off camera if circumstances arise that a recording would be detrimental to the case. (I.E. confidential informant, witness wishes to remain anonymous, and etc.) Officers should document on camera the reason for turning camera off. Cameras may be turned off on a case by case basis after the initial response and scene is secure when circumstances above occur.
• At no time is an officer expected to jeopardize his/her safety in order to activate a body worn camera. However, the body- worn camera should be activated in required situations as soon as practical.
• Some examples of when body-worn cameras should be used are as follows: pedestrian and vehicle stops, consensual encounters, calls for service and on view events.
• Police personnel shall use only the body-worn cameras issued by this department. The body-worn camera equipment and all data, images, video, and metadata captured, recorded, or otherwise produced by this equipment is the sole property of the agency.
• Surreptitious use is permitted under Missouri law and allows an individual to surreptitiously record any conversation in which one party has given his/her permission (542.402, RSMO). Officers of the department may surreptitiously record any conversation during the course of a criminal investigation. Officers shall not surreptitiously record another department member without a court order or unless lawfully authorized by the Chief of Police or an authorized designee.
• Police personnel who are assigned body-worn cameras must complete an agency approved and/or provider training program to ensure proper use and operation. Additional training may be required at periodic intervals to ensure the continued effective use and operation of the equipment, proper calibration and performance, and to incorporate changes, updates, or other revisions in policy and equipment. Officers will train and review every six months to determine effectiveness of camera use.
• Body-worn camera equipment is the responsibility of individual officers and will be used with reasonable care to ensure proper function. Equipment malfunctions shall be brought to the attention of the officer’s supervisor as soon as possible so that a replacement unit may be procured. Officers assigned a body-worn camera are responsible for maintaining and charging said camera.
• Officers shall inspect and test the body-worn camera prior to each shift in order to verify proper functioning and shall notify their supervisor of any problems.
• Officers shall not edit, alter, erase, duplicate, copy, share, transfer to another device, or otherwise distribute in any manner body-worn camera recordings without authorization and approval of the Chief of Police or his/her designee.
• Officers are encouraged to inform their supervisor of any recordings that may be of value for training purposes.
• Officers shall reference in incident, arrest, and related reports when recordings were made during the incident in question. However, body-worn camera recordings are not a replacement for written reports.
Media storage and management
• Storage media containing information that may be of value for case prosecution or in any criminal or civil adversarial proceeding shall be safe-guarded as other forms of evidence.  As such, storage media will:
• Be subject to the same security restrictions and chain of evidence safeguards as detailed in this agency's evidence control policy.
• Not be released to another criminal justice agency for trial or other reasons without having a duplicate copy made and returned to safe storage.
• Will not be released to other than bona fide criminal justice agencies without prior approval of the designated command officer.
• Officers will download data from body-worn cameras at the end of each shift to approved agency storage devices.
• In case of officer involved shootings or other serious incidents the supervisor on duty will take possession of the body worn camera and be responsible for downloading data from the camera.
• Officers will be allowed to review data of an incident they were involved in prior to making a statement about the incident.
• Storage media not scheduled for court proceedings or other adversarial or departmental uses shall be maintained for a minimum period of 30 days.  All storage media shall be maintained in a manner that allows efficient identification and retrieval.
• No storage media shall be reissued for operational use unless completely erased by designated personnel in this agency.
Until the legislator makes a decision, the footage falls under the sunshine law.
"Hopefully the Missouri Legislature will address the issue," Welliver stated.