Footage from traffic cameras in Springfield may be recorded

Published: Jan. 20, 2020 at 10:13 PM CST
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There could be a major change coming to how Springfield uses its many traffic cameras around town.

Before now, the cameras could be viewed but the footage not recorded. Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams wants to change that.

"In this day and age everybody should assume you're being recorded anytime you're out in public," he said. "All the cameras downtown, on the square, in the parking garages, Commercial Street, around the government complex, those are all recorded already."

Now, city leaders want to record the footage from traffic cameras you see at some stop lights and intersections around town.

"This is just kind of a step in that direction. These are cameras owned by the city already. We've had them for almost two decades," said Williams.

He said as technology grows so does the opportunity to use the traffic cameras as yet, another tool.

"There's 58 cameras in thoroughfares all over town. Criminals drive up and down the streets. Crimes happen. Major crashes, fatalities happen. We don't have the ability right now to look at the video," explained Williams.

However, if detectives did, Williams says it will only help bolster evidence in gathered by investigators, strengthening cases.

Just like police reports, the footage will be available for any requests made under Missouri's Sunshine Laws. The department already processes about 25,000 requests a year.

"I think we've been missing out on the opportunity to have some valuable information that will help us solve crimes," he said.

"Unused Video surveillance footage captured by the police department will only be kept on file for 30 days per state laws. It will then be destroyed. Cameras could be installed at city parks.

The cost for recording the feeds of the city's traffic cameras is about $90,000.

City council is expected to make a decision on whether or not to approve the project next week.

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