OCPD: All Patrol Officers Now Equipped, Required To Wear Body Cams
OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma City Police Department initiative that has been in the works for several years is now fully operational. All patrol officers are now equipped with and required to wear body cameras.
The department outfitted a limited number of officers in 2016. Now, all 650 officers patrol the streets with cameras rolling.
“It helps keep our officers accountable,” said Capt. Bo Mathews.
Body cameras proved beneficial during a deadly 2017 officer-involved shooting of a suicidal man. The Oklahoma County District Attorney charged Sergeant Keith Sweeney with second-degree murder after viewing the video. The DA determined the evidence pointed to an unjustified shooting.
“We want to make sure as a department,” said Capt. Mathews. “We are providing the best service we can.”
Officers completed several hours of body camera training in February. They are required to turn the cameras on when engaging with the public during high-priority calls.
“It helps the officers,” said Capt. Mathews. “They can say this is what occurred in a certain incident. It gives them something that backs their statements up.”
There are situations where they can turn the camera off, while interviewing witnesses or at a hospital where a patient's privacy is at stake.
The department purchased 345 cameras. Officers put the cameras on at the beginning of their shift and swap them out for the next shift.
The cameras cost the city more than $680,000, but officials say you can't put a price tag on transparency.
“It’s a win-win situation for both sides,” said Capt. Mathews.
Officials said an officer can be disciplined if they show a pattern of failing to turn on their camera.