Tulsa Police Department Announces Purchase of Long-Awaited Body Cameras

Thursday, June 29th 2017, 10:30 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa Police put in an order for 450 body cameras - that's one for every field officer in the department.

The Tulsa Police Department has been researching, testing and working on the purchase since 2015; the community has been waiting, too.

Tulsa's first glimpse of TPD body cam footage came when an officer testing the camera turned it on after he and Tulsa County Sheriff's deputies shot Joshua Barre earlier this month.

6/15/2017 Related Story: Tulsa Police Release Dash, Body Cam Video Of Joshua Barre Fatal Shooting

Tulsa Police also released footage from another officer testing his camera during Saturday's officer-involved shooting of Jimmy Bevenue.

6/29/2017 Related Story: Tulsa Police Release Video Of Incident In Which Suspect Was Shot And Killed

TPD has now ordered body cameras for all of its field officers.

6/29/2017 Related Story: Tulsa Police Order 450 Body Cams For Field Officers

"It's here and we've got to use it, and use it as a tool, and use it for everybody's good," said Tulsa FOP President Mark Secrist.

Secrist said body cameras will provide more transparency for both the public and police, but they only show a small part of what officers are dealing with at any given time.

"There's things that go on outside camera view that the officer has to take into account," Secrist said.

Marq Lewis with the activist group We The People applauds the announcement.

"I think we need to congratulate the City getting behind this," he said.

But Lewis has questions about the body camera policy.

"If you turn off your body camera, is there some type of penalty toward you? How long is the body camera footage? Will the body camera footage also have internet access just in case, so it cannot be destroyed," he said.

The FOP said Tulsa Police adopted national best practices for its body camera policy, which means turning it on as soon as possible, before a law enforcement activity.

The mayor said the body cameras should be ready to use by the end of this year.