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Aldermanic Public Safety Committee Meeting

Alderman Antonio French (facing) goes over each item on the progress of the city's Comprehensive Crime Reduction Plan with Carl Filler, of the Mayor's office, during an aldermanic public safety committee meeting on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at City Hall in St. Louis. Photo by Huy Mach, hmach@post-dispatch.com

UPDATED at 2 p.m. with comments from St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson.

ST. LOUIS  •  The aldermanic public safety committee listened to a presentation about police body cameras on Tuesday, but the police department's chief dominated their discussion. 

David Fowers, of Taser International, wearing sunglasses attached to a camera showed the committee how the technology works—and how it can help referee disputes when officers receive complaints. 

Fowers said San Diego adopted Taser cameras and saw a 41 percent drop in complaints against officers and a 47 percent drop in the use of force. 

The city police department has been doing a pilot program where some sergeants wear cameras while on the job. But, the question of expanding it to the entire 1,200 person department is up to politicians, unions, and budgets. The police union has resisted body cameras arguing that it would make officers subject to punishment for minor infractions, like not wearing seat belts. 

Each camera costs between $400 to $600, in addition to $1500 docks and storage fees. A total price wasn't given, but is expected to cost millions annually. 

Aldermen largely focused their comments on Police Chief Sam Dotson. 

Dotson will address the aldermanic Ways and Means committee on Wednesday about the department's upcoming budget, setting up a showdown between Dotson and aldermen questioning his crime strategies. 

Several aldermen on Tuesday hammered Dotson for placing additional officers downtown following a spate of high-profile crimes, saying it takes away officers from other neighborhoods.

Dotson wasn't present.  

Alderman Antonio French, saying his neighborhood has been ignored, reiterated his call for Dotson to resign. 

Dotson rejected French's comments. Dotson said he is focused "on working on solutions, not politics."

But on Tuesday, Alderman Dionne Flowers said Dotson is considering a run for mayor, alleging he is running the department to achieve maximum political benefit. 

"Go ahead and resign," Flowers said. 

Dotson has not announced a candidacy. Over the weekend, he issued two blog posts alleging city judges are lenient on criminals. 

"I have not made any decision about my future yet," Dotson said. "But if you look back you have seen me talk about guns, about judges, and all of those things for a long time."

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