Tulsa Deputies To Be Outfitted With Body Cams

Monday, May 8th 2017, 7:20 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa County Sheriff's deputies will start wearing body cameras after a company agreed to supply them - for free - for one year. The Sheriff's Office says it's an almost $100,000 donation of the equipment, from the manufacturer called Axon.

After a year, the cameras will be TCSO's to keep since they were donated, but after one year if TCSO likes the system, it will have to pay Axon to continue the contract for storage and maintenance after the pilot project ends.  
Sheriff Vic Regalado says the donation is the only way the office could afford to move ahead with body cameras right now.

"What it really allows us to do in the most cost-effective manner possible is to have a trial run," Regalado said.

The new system will put 55 of the small, chest-mounted cameras on deputies who work patrol. They're just one system among many the sheriff was considering, when the company offered the equipment for free.

The sheriff says the question now is the cost of operation.

"Do we have in-house personnel to manage the system, or do we have to hire someone to do that - and those are some of the questions we hope to answer in this one-year trial period," Sheriff Regalado said.

Tulsa County has used a few cameras before, but not body cameras. TCSO said Google glasses worn by a deputy captured the shooting of Eric Harris. But that was a chance recording made by the glasses.

The new program will put one on every patrol deputy, and record constantly, but it will take several months to get it up and running.

"We took a big step today but it's not going to be a quick fix, we still have to put some things in place before we put a camera on a deputy but once we do that, that program will start and we have a year to figure out how we move into the future with body cams," said Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado.

Axon has a standing offer to donate cameras to any department for a year. The manufacturer says it now has 200,000 cameras in use all over the world.