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Norman City Council To Vote On Police Body Cameras

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NORMAN, Oklahoma -

Norman City Council is scheduled to vote on whether to equip police officers with body cameras.

It’s a decision that’s been years in the making.

In fact, the City has been working on getting body cameras for police for about four years, and police here have been recording audio of their interactions with the public for about 20 years.  

If the council approves the contract, the policies will remain, essentially, the same.  

"Really, anytime they're interacting with a citizen, they're on a call for service, traffic stop, they're asked to engage that camera,” said police spokeswoman Sarah Jensen. “There will be some instances in which we record that information, we'll just not release that information. We know there are a lot of concerns regarding privacy."

Norman Mayor Lynn Miller said the City took those privacy concerns into consideration.

"We've put a lot of safeguards in our policies for children, people in very embarrassing situations, people in the hospital, that kind of thing. So, we've actually had our policies in place for two years," she said.

According to the contract proposal with WatchGuard Video Products of Allen, Texas, “This contract with WatchGuard will allow the purchase of 75 body worn cameras, five in-car camera systems, and two motorcycle camera systems. The total cost of this contract is $195,615.”  

That doesn’t include the roughly half million dollars to set up servers to store video.  

"I got an interesting email today from someone who said how can 75 cameras, how can they cost $100,000 each? Well, it's not the cameras that cost that much. It is all the back up information technology," Miller said. "I think the more data you can have to back up what you're saying happened I think that's a good thing. I think it's a good thing for the police and I think it's a good thing for the community."

If the City Council approves the plan, Norman police officers could begin using the cameras in the spring.

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