OKC Police to Immediately Cease All Body Camera Use
Less than six months after the pilot program started, Oklahoma City Police Department is immediately ceasing all use of their body cameras. It was the officers who prompted the removal of the cameras.
Oklahoma City police officers will no longer be wearing body cameras, effective immediately.
The decision to pull the cameras came from a cease and desist order during a legal battle between the police department and the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police.
The union filed a grievance against the department in September 2015, stating a body camera policy must be negotiated between the City of Oklahoma City and the Fraternal Order of Police. An arbitrator, who has final say, ruled in favor of the union.
Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police President John George released the following statement:
“We support body cameras 100 percent but need a policy in place to govern the use of the cameras and reviewing footage. We hope to complete negotiations as quickly as possible to get these cameras back on the street, which protects our officers and the general public.”
Oklahoma City police Chief Bill Citty released the following statement:
“Today, the Oklahoma City Police Department received the arbitrator’s ruling which ruled on the side of the Union. This ruling included a ‘cease and desist’ order requiring the police department to remove all body-worn cameras off the streets immediately. Even though the police department disagrees with the ruling, Oklahoma state law makes the arbitrator’s decision binding.
“We feel body cameras are an additional tool for better policing that provides the public with greater transparency and more accountability from officers and citizens. The police department will continue to work with the union on body-worn camera procedures in an attempt to re-implement the program as soon as possible.“
We’re told that the FOP are actually on board with use of the cameras. The issue isn’t the camera themselves, it’s how they will be used to review and discipline officers. If you watch somebody long enough, you’re bound to see them make some mistakes. If a supervisor doesn’t like somebody, they can just review all of that officer’s footage until the supervisor finds mistakes to document them for. The department is reportedly not willing to negotiate how body camera footage gets used by supervisors. Let us know what you think in the comments below.