Registered Agency Spotlight: Bell City Missouri Police Department
Registered Police Department Spotlight: Bell City Missouri Police Department
Police Chief: Chief Jim Culbertson
Link: Department Website
Number of Officers: 1
Body Camera Goal: 1
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Registration Statement: Bell City, MO is a small town in rural southeast Missouri. The town has a population of 456. The police department is proportionally small as well, with myself being the only Officer/Chief. Being such a small town in a somewhat economically depressed area, the funds available for needed equipment and supplies is limited. Any assistance or donations would be graciously accepted and greatly appreciated- Chief Culbertson.
Why has your department decided to start a body camera program?
Chief Culbertson: I’ve worked in other departments that used body cameras and at 1st I was uncomfortable using them. But the more I used them, the better I felt and the more I saw it as a protective tool. They cut down on false complaints and all the “he said/she said” disputes. With the video you can review it and see the truth about what happened.
How do you believe a body camera program will benefit your officers, department and the community?
Chief Culbertson: I believe it will cut down on complaints and resolve any unnecessary conflicts and disputes over what happened in situations. It will be useful for court cases and an invaluable tool for training and reviewing of what an officer should and shouldn’t do.
Are there any situations where having body camera video evidence would have made a difference in court cases or complaints against your officers?
Chief Culbertson: I can see situations where a body camera would be helpful, for example in domestic calls you get different stories. They may tell you one thing on the scene, then later the victim or the suspects story may change and if you have the video you can play it back and prove it… so if someone says “I never said that” you can just go to the video and play it back and prove what was said.
Does your department have guidelines for a body camera policy? If so, what would the policy be? When would officers be required to record, etc.?
Chief Culbertson: I don’t have a body camera policy in place right now, but I’m working on putting one together. I plan to contact my last department where we used them and go over their policy and do my own research and have one in place within the next few weeks.