Body Cameras Coming to Urbandale Police Department

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URBANDALE, Iowa -- The Urbandale Police Department was awarded a big donation on Tuesday for some high-tech equipment.

Officers will all be wearing body cameras thanks to a generous donation from the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Grand Lodge of Iowa.

“The Odd Fellows came through at a time where you feel like it's a prayer that's been answered,” said Urbandale Police Chief Ross McCarty.

Chief McCarty says the department originally budgeted for six body cameras back in the Fall of 2013 but realized logistically they would need more.

He says each camera only has a battery life of about five hours, requiring each officer to have a second one during a shift.

“We started focusing on this about 18 months ago and really it's coming to fruition where we think by July 1st we'll have our training completed, the policy reviewed by our officers, and we'll have them deployed on the street," McCarty said.

The Odd Fellows presented a check during the Urbandale City Council meeting for $13,615, enough to buy 24 body cameras for the department.

“Our Grand Lodge is located in Urbandale so we thought what a better way support the community then to provide something for the community to use,” said Grand Master Mike Palmer.

Palmer says it was an easy decision especially with all the attention police departments are receiving across the county.

“With all of the flack and the bad press that police officers have got about the shootings and everything, we decided that body cameras would be the way to go,” Palmer said.

Chief McCarty says the cameras will be put to good use and provide yet another tool for officers to use while on duty.

“We've had in-car cameras since the early 90's so our officers understand the value of those cameras," McCarty said. "This is just another segway for the camera to be out there on the street with them instead of confined to the vehicle.”

The Urbandale Police Department is still waiting on several of the cameras to ship, but hopes to have them all in use by July 1.

Johnston and Clive's Police Departments already have body cameras for their officers.

The city of Des Moines has also considered the technology but says the cost is preventing the purchase.