Data storage costs keeping body cameras off the street

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Body cameras in police work have become a staple for law enforcement. Police and sheriff's departments across the country are using them. Sedgwick County has 24 body cameras, but the thing holding up getting more, isn't the cameras; it's how to store all the footage. 

"It creates a huge issue. We love body cameras. We want to get more body cameras than what we have," said Col. Brenda Dietzman, Under sheriff Sedgwick County. 

Dietzman says the amount of time the county is required to keep the footage by state law is out of touch with the county's needs. 

"We would love to have it revisited because there is value in keeping that video," said Dietzman. 

Currently, the state requires the county to keep all footage involving a felony crime for at least 25 years.

Cities can make their own policies. The Wichita Police Department keeps that same footage for less than half as long, just 10 years.

"We want that video we need that video but it's really hard to pay for that video," said Dietzman. 

It's not just footage from body cameras. It's also dash-cams, in-flight video during extradition and interviews at the Child Advocacy Center. 

"Within the next year or two we could be looking at putting on 40 terabytes a year on our servers, so that's a lot of data that we have to store and store for 25 years," said Lieutenant Lin Dehning, Sedgwick County Spokesman. 

The county has bids asking up to a quarter of a million dollars to store all the county's footage. As long as the state mandates longer storage times, Dietzman is worried it could keep cameras off the streets. 

"If the costs were to store these videos for the length of time that we have to that we could actually outfit more people with more cameras quicker than what we can right now," said Dietzman. 

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