OK Co. Sheriff's Office Looks Into Adding Body Cameras To Gear

Tuesday, December 22nd 2015, 10:47 pm
By: News 9

Following the lead of other law enforcement agencies, the Oklahoma County sheriff's office is looking to add body cameras to its gear.

The agency has been eyeing the addition since last year. Although it is expensive, it could certainly pay off in the long run.

Tahlequah. June 2015.

An officer shoots after an armed suspect opens fire. The suspect died, but the officer was cleared. Even though that officer didn't have his body camera on, another officer did. The video didn't show the actual shooting, but you can hear the shots.

August 2015. Chickasha.

"Let me see your hands. Let me see your hands. Both of you. Let me see your hands,” the officer said.

Another case that body cameras were in use involves an officer who wasn't forced to use his gun. However, you can see it pointed and ready to go.

"It's going to body cameras for pretty much every department across the country,” Oklahoma County sheriff's office spokesman Mark Opgrande said.

But not for the Oklahoma County sheriff's office which is one of the largest agency in the state. It has had dash cams for years, and, now, the sheriff is looking into cameras deputies can wear.

"When we put dash cameras in our cars our complaints went down significantly over the first year, because we were able to have a true record of how that stop went down,” Opgrande said.

The agency has been testing body cams since last year, but there is a lot to consider and a lot of money involved.

"How long to you keep it? What do you do with it once you get it? What do you do with the stuff that you get every day that nothing happened?" Opgrande said.

Each unit can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000, but in the end could end up being another kind of weapon for deputies, not only in the field but in court.

"It provides a true picture of your interaction between the public and a law enforcement officer,” Opgrande said.

Right now, the Oklahoma County sheriff's office is testing different types of body cameras but may not buy them until late next year.