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Columbia police to roll out new body cams by early 2016

Officer Monica Parker demonstrates one of the new body-worn cameras Columbia police will be rolling out next year.
Officer Monica Parker demonstrates one of the new body-worn cameras Columbia police will be rolling out next year. gflanagan@thestate.com

Columbia police will be sporting a snazzy new accessory early next year.

After Columbia City Council gave the Police Department the OK to purchase 300 new body-worn cameras Tuesday, Police Chief Skip Holbrook said Thursday that the first batch should arrive within 30 to 45 days.

“This is an extra layer of accountability and our ability to quickly get to the bottom of problems when they arise,” Holbrook said. “I look at it as an additional tool to further support the professionalism that already exists here.”

The entire purchase comes to just under $170,000, Holbrook said. A little more than $79,000 of that will come from the Justice Assistance Grant Program, and the remaining cost will be covered by the Police Department’s camera fund.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin praised the move.

“I will say without reservation that the city of Columbia is a leader, nationally, in the vanguard of changing the culture of policing for the better – keeping all the old things that make men and women in blue proud of the jobs they do, and also adjusting well for this new century in which we all live,” Benjamin said.

Video from the body cams will be kept for a minimum of 60 days, according to Police Department policy.

Glen Luke Flanagan: 803-771-8305, @glenlflanagan

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