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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Body cameras for police officers, it’s an issue that led to some strong comments before a St. Louis aldermanic committee today.  Some members of the ways and means committee said body cameras would get to the truth when there are inconsistencies between citizens and police.   But the police officers union describes the discussion as post-Ferguson pile on against police officers.The committee was told by the head of the public safety department that it would cost more than one million dollars to outfit St. Louis police officers with body cameras.  Some aldermen believe it will be money well spent.  27th ward alderman Chris Carter said, “I think that it protects the officer and it think that it protects the citizen of a lot of different situations where folks are saying one thing and the officer is saying something else.”

But the police officers union questions the spending priorities of the department.  Jeff Roorda, the business manager for the St. Louis police officers association said, “we’re to learn suddenly just after negotiating a union contract with the city where we remain nine thousand dollars below the average, the average pay, for police officers in the region,  that suddenly the city has two and a quarter million dollars to spend on body cameras.”  Roorda wouldn’t disclose the union’s position on body cameras, but warned that the issue must be negotiated with the union before any cameras are ordered.  “This is all post Ferguson pile on and this is meant to advance a very narrow agenda of a few aldermen who think that police are the problem with crime in the city when they’re the solution to crime in the city,” Roorda said.

But Alderman Carter disagreed saying, “I don’t think that there should be negotiations in mixed with the body cam at this point. Right now I think that people are in need and at the end of the day I’m here to protect the people of the city and the people in my ward.”

The aldermanic ways and committee has not set a date to formally consider funding the body cams.

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