Claremore PD Halts Dashcam System; Pursues Bodycams

Wednesday, September 21st 2016, 10:45 pm
By: News On 6

A Green Country police department is raising eyebrows after announcing its officers will no longer use dash cameras.

Claremore's police chief said he knows the announcement is bad timing, in light of Tulsa's recent events, but he said he is committed to transparency.

It takes a lot of technology and maintenance to store video footage, and the Claremore Police Department said the equipment is too old and too expensive to fix.

The department stopped its dashcam system completely earlier this month, but Chief Stan Brown said it doesn't mean they're doing away with cameras completely.

"This is not a matter of Claremore Police has chosen to go away from use of video cameras, this is a matter of equipment failure related to a catastrophic event," he said.

A late August storm fried the police department's server, and Brown said getting it fixed would not be cost-effective because, even before the storm, Brown said the equipment was a decade old, growing outdated and too expensive to maintain.

8/26/2016 Related Story: Claremore Storm Clean-Up Underway

Brown said he knows this is poor timing, given Tulsa's officer-involved shooting and the demand for accountability nation-wide.

Special Coverage: Terence Crutcher Police Shooting

"The reality is, is people want us to be accountable and transparent, and we want to be," Brown said.

The department has been looking into putting body cameras on its officers for the past year. It's chosen a preferred company, but Brown said there's still so much to consider - how long should the department keep the footage? How expensive would that be? Not to mention crafting a policy with the police union.

It may take a while to sort out, Brown said, but he assures the department has nothing to hide.

"If we're doing things that we should be doing, we shouldn't be afraid to tell people why or how we've done it," he said.

Police departments like Sand Springs, Wagoner and Muskogee use body cameras. TPD received a grant for them last fall but have yet to buy them.