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Union Reaches Agreement With Oklahoma City Police On Body Camera Usage

Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty
Sue Ogrocki
Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty

The Oklahoma City Police Department and the city’s Fraternal Order of Police have reached an agreement over the use of body worn cameras. The new agreement spells out when the cameras can, and must, be used.

Officers will be required to turn on cameras in the time between receiving a call and arriving at the scene. Police cannot roll film when interviewing victims or witnesses. Police management will be able to watch film to review operations, but not necessarily to assess an individual officer’s performance unless a citizen files a complaint.

According to the new policy, body cameras can be used:

  • During voluntary contact with people in public places
  • Before detaining someone or using force
  • Before exiting their patrol car on high-priority calls
  • During pursuits or sobriety tests
  • When they’re asked to by a supervisor, and in other situations

Officers can not use cameras:

  • When interviewing victims or witnesses and other involved or reporting parties
  • In situations where someone would have a reasonable expectation of privacy
  •  In a healthcare facility, and in other situations

The city's first plan was put on hold over the summer after an arbitrator decided the Fraternal Order of Police needed more input in the policy making.

Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty says a 90-day grace period will allow officers to get acquainted with the cameras.

“It’s new for officers, so much of what they do is automatic through training," Citty said. "They will forget to turn them on from time to time, but if we have an officer that just won’t turn them on we have the ability to go in and hold them accountable.”

The one-year initial expense of the program is expected to cost the department about $405,000, which will include the first 100 cameras. The department recently received a federal grant for $207,000 to add 180 cameras to the program.

The footage will be subject to Open Records Requests. The Police Department will start using the cameras on the street after the first of the year.

Watch Tuesday's press conference

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