Since the death of George Floyd, many communities have begun the conversation of how to do better. One Oklahoma small town isn't just talking, they're taking action.
Following an open community forum in Chandler Thursday night the Chandler Ministerial Alliance have begun raising money so that each officer has his/her own body worn camera.
The Chandler Police Department employs 9 officers with 5 reserve.
The open community forum was held at the Douglas Community Center, a historically black school and gym.
“If we get a complaint on officer misconduct or if they’re not telling the truth on the officer’s conduct, it’ll show both sides of the story,” said Chandler Police Chief Matt Mattheyer. “It’ll keep the good cops honest and it'll weed out the bad ones.”
The Chandler Police Department recently purchased much needed body armor and radios for each officer which did a number to the department’s budget.
To help kick off fundraising efforts, the Chandler Ministerial Alliance donated $1,000. A number the community, in just three days alone, more than matched.
“It should be a requirement for no matter how rural your law enforcement may be, all of them should have that,” said Pastor David Burgess of God’s House of Prayer Services in Chandler. “If the idea is to protect and serve and you’re protecting the community and the officer at the same time, whether they are good cops or bad cops, you get to see on this video what really happened.”
The alliance hopes that with the money raised, Chandler police purchase body cameras that upload directly to the internet, so officers don’t have an opportunity to tamper with what was recorded.
It’ll cost over $10,000 for 14 cameras. Chandler police would have to also pay a monthly subscription on top of that, for online storage each month.
“Defunding our law enforcement is going to open the gates for more chaos,” said Burgess. “I think you have neighborhood watches now turned into vigintile groups that think they have a right to police and you’re going to have more innocent people killed.”
Five African Americans have served on the Chandler Police Department.
Bodycams, for this community, is just a start.
“I think that enough people have seen the disgrace of what is taking place that our hearts are burning, and we are yearning for a change,” said Burgess.
A unity walk is scheduled this Saturday at 8 a.m. The walk will start at the Douglas Community Center and end at the Lincoln County Courthouse.
City leaders, the community and even Chandler police are invited.
A bodycam fund has been set up at BancFirst in Chandler for community members to donate.