Cost of storing body camera footage could cripple police departments

Author: Adam Wright

LEE COUNTY, Fla. – Unexpected costs of maintaining police body cameras are threatening to cripple departments across the United States.

A new report from the Associated Press reveals that many police departments are being blindsided by how much it costs to store footage.

Many times the contracts departments sign with camera companies require them to archive hundreds if not thousands of hours of footage for months or even years.

In about two months officers with the Cape Coral Police Department are expected to start wearing cameras mounted on eyeglasses. The department ordered 60 cameras last year for a total cost of just over $287,000. The cameras are expected to help prevent frivolous lawsuits as well as improve officer accountability. But is the department prepared for the cost of storing hundreds of hours of footage?

“You’re talking about, in some cases, upwards of millions of dollars for just the server farm that would be used to house that video… that was almost off the table immediately,” Cape PD Sgt. Dana Coston told WINK News.

According to the Associated Press, police departments across the U.S. are already struggling with storage costs. Coston says Cape PD will be saving hundreds of thousands of dollars by storing their video in “the cloud”… through the website

“It’s all done via wireless connection from the camera, or by plugging the cameras into a docking station, and then it goes out over our intranet and into servers,” said Coston.

The cost of using for cloud storage is included in the contract Cape PD signed with the camera company.

The Fort Myers Police Department also recently bought 40 cameras and is set to start using them soon. The department tells WINK News they’re aware of the extra costs involved and it’s something they will monitor as the program progresses.

Coston says they’ve talked about with FMPD as well as several other agencies looking into body cameras.

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