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Ferguson will 'explore' putting cameras on its cops

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Michael Brown's death may provoke change in the St. Louis suburb

Scott Olson

A suburb of St. Louis is still in turmoil after the August 9th killing of Michael Brown, and more than a week of an aggressive police presence that has been blamed for escalating tension. The community, and many in the country, have demanded transparency — and they may get some in the future. In a statement obtained by The Wire, the city of Ferguson said it will seek funding for dash and vest cameras for its officers.

As The Verge previously reported, there's been a call by some observers for cops to wear cameras in the wake of Brown's killing. The idea is that on-body camera systems could have either caught something like Brown's killing, alleviating the kind of uncertainty that has stoked unrest, or prevent such tragedies in the first place by forcing police to think about public accountability at all times.

Ferguson hasn't even installed its two dash cameras yet

Body cameras would be a welcome improvement for many in Ferguson, but even dash cameras, used by other police departments across the United States, haven't been installed there. The city's police chief revealed last week that the department purchased two dash cameras and body cameras, but never installed them due to cost.

The city says it will explore a number of actions intended to "demonstrate the transparency" of city departments, listed as a number of high-level commitments, like increasing the number of black applicants to the police academy and encouraging Ferguson police to actually live in the community they serve. As Vox reported, Ferguson's force is 94 percent white despite the community it polices being 67 percent black.