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Oklahoma City's Top Cop Says Open Records Updates Could Spur More Body Cameras

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Oklahoma City's police chief says new guidelines outlining the types of video footage open for public records will pave the way for the use of body cameras in Oklahoma's largest city.

The new law permits the release of body camera videos but allows certain exemptions. Videos containing death are exempt from release, unless the death was caused by law enforcement.

Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said the state's existing Open Records Law is too restrictive and would hinder investigations.

“I say restrictive in regard as having to immediately release information the way it was written which in many cases would compromise an investigation if you had to immediately release it the same day,” Citty said.

Videos that contain nudity, minors, informants, sex crime victims, domestic violence victims, personal information about innocent people and medical information that is not already public may be withheld.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill last week. Citty said the department is in discussions with vendors now to purchase 100 body cameras. He expects to eventually expand the use of body cams to all 500 to 600 officers who work in the field.

"The other option we were discussing was probably not using cameras if the legislation hadn't been passed,” Citty said. “So we're happy and I think statewide it's really going to give agencies a lot of guidance in what they have to release and what they should release and how the cameras should be used."

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Jacob McCleland spent nine years as a reporter and host at public radio station KRCU in Cape Girardeau, Mo. His stories have appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Here & Now, Harvest Public Media and PRI’s The World. Jacob has reported on floods, disappearing languages, crop duster pilots, anvil shooters, Manuel Noriega, mule jumps and more.
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