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      Police use body cameras to fight crime

      Columbia police officers have a new weapon to fight crime.

      Columbia street police are now equipped with body cameras.

      Officer Spirit Stevens shot video using a body camera on her chest. Stevens is one of 2 officers who tested the new technology for about a year. After the testing, the Columbia Police Department signed a 3-year contract with Taser International to use 102 cameras. The cost is $110,000.

      Stevens said, â??If we have a high priority call, shots fired and stuff like that, itâ??s easy to go back. It aids our still photos.â??

      Officers store their video on a cloud website system at

      Columbia police administrators said their new body cameras act as photographic memories for their officers. The new devices record every second of a crime scene. They chose the Axon Taser Body Camera System because it has the latest technology.

      Assistant Police Chief John Worden said, â??It has a battery life of 12 hours which is what our standard patrol shift is. It is the only camera that does so. The night resolution videos are much better.â??

      The cameras record both video and audio. Officers said this new type of evidence doesnâ??t lie.

      Officer Stevens said, â??If for some reason I get into a use of force or response to resistance situation, I like to have the camera there to help justify. I know what I did and the reason why I did it, but on paper it might not seem that way.â??

      With more than 100 cameras, the Columbia Police Department has the most of any law enforcement agency in the Midwest.

      The Columbia Police Department is the first Missouri police department to fully use body cameras.