Choctaw Police Chief Says Officer Body Cams Pays Off

Monday, August 25th 2014, 5:51 pm
By: News 9

As Brown was laid to rest today in Ferguson, discussions continue across the nation regarding police accountability. It's something the Choctaw Police Department found a solution to nearly a year ago.

As News 9's Justin Dougherty shows, the department and the city are pleased with the investment of body cameras. Nearly the same size as a stick of lip balm, Choctaw Police have worn the body cameras for nearly five months, and to them that's almost a year of extra insurance.

"If something does happen then I'll have video proof of it or documentation," said Choctaw Police Chief Conny Clay.

"I mean it's real easy…it's a huge help," said Officer Belen Rodriguez.

Rodriguez has been with the force since May. She's currently assigned to patrol the halls of the middle school and with every step, this tiny camera on her collar is watching.

“If you do everything right and follow procedures and your agency's policies and you do everything correctly there's nothing to worry about," said Rodriguez.

Clay implemented the cameras nearly a year ago.

"When you use the dash camera only you are stuck to that car and what is seen by that car," said Clay.

Not only are the cameras mobile, but a bargain for Clay, who says the price tag for body cams run thousands of dollars cheaper than dash cams. Now the department owns 15 body cams, enough for every officer on duty, recording everything from routine traffic stops, to the unexpected.

“It goes where they go and it sees what they see," said Clay.

Clay also uses the video to catch suspects that got away, or just training.

"We can go back and review their stops and their contacts," said Clay.

And for other departments looking into the cameras, they come with a full recommendation from Choctaw Police.

"It comes really handy in certain situations and you know the video is not going to lie. It's going to show everything that happens so," said Rodriguez.

Choctaw Police remains one of the few departments in the state that use these cameras. News 9 has confirmed Oklahoma City and Edmond are discussing the issue.

The suspect in the body cam video did get away and now Choctaw Police are asking for our help.

His Oklahoma license plate number is 273-EPD. If you recognize him, you are asked to call Choctaw police at (405) 769-3821.