At a Friday night vigil for Terence Crutcher, the man shot and killed by a Tulsa police officer last week, leaders of the black community and the Black Lives Matter movement asked for help in returning body cameras to officers of the Oklahoma City Police Department.
The cameras were removed from the force back in June, after the Fraternal Order of Police won a challenge in court saying there needed to be better guidelines for supervision and video review.
Since then, progress has been tied up in lengthy contract negotiations and has seemed to stall, despite both FOP and OCPD officials saying they want body cams back on the force.
“We know that they're at an impasse,” Black Lives Matter leader Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson said just before the vigil. “We need to get them past that moment. Kind of stop the power struggle and understand that the community deserves to have that as a point of reference, as do the officers themselves.”
Footage of police interactions, especially with residents of color, have been front and center in recent years, proving in some cases to keep officers and citizens on their best behavior. In some cities, reports against officers have dropped by 60 percent.
“We think the body cameras are a win-win situation,” Dickerson said.
A win-win that's a lose-lose for Dickerson until those cameras are back on the street.
“I am hoping that the FOP and the City, especially here, will really, really commit to coming to a resolution,” Dickerson said.
However, it is a resolution that resolution may not be happening anytime soon. At their most recent meeting, sources inside said neither OCPD nor FOP officials brought up the issue of body cameras.
Last week, the FOP president, John George, said if they can't reach a solution soon officers may not have body cameras back on their uniforms until 2017.