Clayton Police Chief asks council for body cams

CLAYTON Tuesday night, Clayton Police Chief Andy Strait asked council members in attendance of the regularly scheduled Clayton City Council meeting to consider the purchasing of body cams in lieu of recent events.

Strait approached the podium and said there is an immediate need for having body cams on each responding officer considering most recent events where an officer was involved in a knife fight that ended with a fatal gunshot.

A quote was received from WatchGuard, the leading manufacturer of police video systems, to equip all patrol officers with body cams in the amount of $7,310.

He said there are other camera systems that are cheaper, however, Straight said most require outside hard drive systems to store the memory. Strait said WatchGuard syncs with the current video surveillance system the department has. The company also is the department’s main supplier for storage space.

Although Strait did present a compelling reason to acquire the body cams, he said at this time “the funds are just not there.”

“I told the city manager last week when I was going through with this, I don’t have all the money for it. I really don’t,” Strait said. “I’ve got some of the money in two locations, one being in the Equipment Fund and the other in the Drug Seizure Account. But I’m still probably looking at $4,800 to $5,000 short.”

Strait said to help alleviate some of that cost, fines have been raised for the Clayton Police Department. However, he said since raising them, he does not yet know what to expect funding wise until the first revenue report.

“We actually have increased our fines to be in line with other departments in this area. We just did it though, so I don’t want to give an inaccurate estimate as to what that might be. We have not seen the first revenue come in off those fines,” he said.

Of the fines increased, “were some of the more dangerous ones like fighting, obstruction, fleeing and eluding, as well as some drug charges.”

Clayton Mayor Jordan Green said despite the recent events and the lack of body cams, the police department was complimented for having better technology, via the dash cams mounted on patrol units, which presented a clear video of the officer-involved fatal shooting that occurred Friday, Feb. 3.

Upon the conclusion of Strait’s bid presentation, the council was in agreeance to further pursue the acquiring of body cams for the Clayton Police Department. A resolution will be adopted at the next regularly scheduled council meeting as what the ultimate decision is.