Oklahoma City police say body cam program is already paying off

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OKLAHOMA CITY - After several months of negotiations, it seems body cameras are already helping the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Last January, many Oklahoma City police officers were outfitted with body cameras.

However, the Fraternal Order of Police said they had some reservations about the body cam program.

The two organizations couldn’t agree on when officers should activate the cameras and who should be able to look at the footage.

In late November, the Oklahoma City Police Department announced it had come to an agreement with the FOP.

The organizations worked out a plan for when the body cameras would be activated.

This month, those body cameras were back with Oklahoma City police officers, and it seems they are already helping the department.

In one case, police said a man was seen drinking in public and was found to have marijuana on him.

As an officer approached him near N.W. 89th and Western, he allegedly ignored commands and slipped his hand behind his back.

That action caused the officer to draw his weapon.

“We can actually see in high-definition what transpire, what was said, what was done, what physical force was used and determine whether it was appropriate or not,” said Capt. Paco Balderrama with the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Balderrama said the cameras give officers an extra set of eyes and allows the department to see everything.

“There have been some situations where people have made false allegations and we were very quickly able to look at the video and determine that something did or did not happen,” he said.

The police department started out with just 100 cameras, and the technology was given to officers based on seniority.

The department has applied for a federal grant that would allow every officer to be outfitted with a camera.

“The long term goal is for every first responder, every police officer who is in uniform responding to a 911 call to have a body cam in their possession,” Balderrama said.

The Fraternal Order of Police and the Oklahoma City Police Department tell NewsChannel 4 they have not received any formal complaints about the body cameras.