TULSA, Okla. — A police department in northeast Oklahoma has distributed 450 body cameras and has started retrofitting patrol vehicles to support the new equipment.

Tulsa Police Department spokesman Adam Ashley told the Tulsa World that in addition to equipping the patrol vehicles, police personnel will ensure the department’s servers can support officers uploading videos.

The move to new equipment comes after the department field tested 40 body cameras last year.

The department was chosen to receive a cash-match grant from the U.S. Department of Justice in 2015 to fund the body camera equipment. The nearly $600,000 grant required a 50-50 cash match from local agencies, bringing the total cost for Tulsa’s body camera program to about $1.2 million.

“We’re seeing more benefit of the body camera over the dash camera,” Ashley said. “The majority of enforcement action between police officers and civilians is going to be caught on the body camera.”

Ashley said equipping patrol vehicles to support the body cameras will allow officers to synchronize their stored videos to the department’s servers at any Tulsa police or fire station.

Officers will be required to activate the body cameras for any enforcement action. But Ashley said officers are to activate cameras only when it’s safe to do so.

“It’s conceivable for us that not every enforcement action will be captured,” said Tulsa Police Sgt. Shane Tuell.

Officers will have to give explanations when their cameras aren’t activated in instances that result in investigation.

The department is aiming to have the cameras synchronized by November or December.


Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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