More metro police consider body cameras

CHOCTAW, Okla. - Citizens in Norman will weigh in on a proposal to outfit their officers with body-worn cameras.

A public forum is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday.

Last week, Oklahoma City police finally decided to move forward with a plan to outfit the officers in their department after purchasing body cameras more than a year ago.

In Choctaw, the department's officers have worn body cameras for years.

"I like the idea of being able to show exactly what the officer sees, hear what the officer hears. It's great for evidence collection right there at the scene," said Choctaw Police Chief Conny Clay.

The video is color, and the audio is clear.

Choctaw officers are required to turn the cameras on for every interaction with the public.

"It's wonderful for transparency in the department to show how we treat the public," Clay said.

The department started with just 10 cameras.

They now have 22 units, one for each officer and reserve.

The chief made the move from dash cameras in their squad cars to body cameras about three and a half years ago.

The cost was a huge motivator, according to the chief.

Each dash camera unit cost about $3,000.

The body cameras are only $1,000 each.

However, battery life is limited, and the batteries are expensive to replace.

The department has had to get creative for data storage, which is expensive if you store the video off-site.

Choctaw keeps their video in house, the limit their storage to video that is 60 days old or younger.

"It's still an expensive proposition that keeps on going," Clay said.

Sergeant Scott Cox maintains the equipment.

He's the only one with access to alter or delete the videos.

"The only person who can touch is me as far as being able to alter the videos," Cox said. "I've been an officer for 25 years. We started out with nothing then dash cams. We've gotten to where we use these now, which go with the officer."

Modern policing now taking hold in departments around the country and metro.

Norman is the latest community to consider implementation of body cameras.

In Oklahoma City, some officers will be equipped with body cameras by the first of the year.