Oklahoma City Police Department launches body camera program

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Video is everywhere these days thanks to our cell phones.

Now, the Oklahoma City Police Department is taking body cameras wherever they go through a new test program.

"We believe this program is going to improve the openness, transparency and public confidence, especially in spite of the events that have happened in the past year," said Capt. Paco Balderrama with the Oklahoma City Police Department.

It's evidence that could have been used in the Daniel Holtzclaw trial, a former Oklahoma City police officer convicted of sex crimes.

"When there's an allegation something went wrong, we have proof of what exactly happened, so we can either disprove an allegation or we can continue an investigation," Balderrama said.

It will also help officers write their police reports, which can be difficult in a high stress situation.

"'What exactly happened? I don't remember. I got there and I spoke to this person and I spoke to that person.' So, they can go back and review their video, so they can write a better report," Balderrama said.

During this pilot program, 100 body cameras will be used after the city council approved the $400,000 initiative last year.

It will add six positions for managing digital evidence, maintenance and upkeep of the large amount of video.

When the officers push record, they get a first person perspective.

They'll record everything from a traffic stop, burglary call or assault with a deadly weapon call.

Many officers see the new body cameras as a win-win for the public and first responders.

"I think, by offering some transparency, which is huge and, of course, accountability on both parts, whether it be the officer or the citizen," said Officer Chris Brown with the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Officials said how long the video will be kept will depend on each situation.

The department hopes to eventually have 700 on their police force.

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