Edmond Police anticipate having body cameras in use by the end of August if there are no unforeseen delays, said Sgt. James Hamm, of the EPD traffic division.
“The current intention is to use body cameras to record crimes in progress, enforcement actions or activities, suspicious incidents, or domestic incidents — any contact which is likely to be volatile or create conflict, and any other contact or situation where the employee believes a recording would be appropriate and/or valuable,” Hamm said.
The plan is to first equip all uniformed personnel, he explained. The initial deployment will provide 32 cameras, Hamm said. Ninety uniformed officers are assigned to the patrol division. Edmond Police have 122 sworn positioned staffed in the department.
Implementation of the cameras is in its infancy stages, he said. The four cameras tested during the department’s evaluation period are in use.
Body cameras provide an independent source of information about an officer’s interactions with citizens, Hamm explained, added that they are worn on the officer’s uniform shirt and they weigh 6.6 oz.
“The camera systems are not small, as with any additional equipment added to an officer’s uniform there will be a period of adjustment for the officer. Officers already wear approximately 30 lbs. of equipment. The body cameras will add to that,” Hamm said.
The Edmond City Council approved the purchase order in November for $675 per unit.
Testing the cameras began in 2016, Hamm said. Police evaluated various body camera systems to determine the best fit for Edmond police.
“Our vendor advised that difficulties in the manufacturing process delayed their ability to deliver the product as expected,” Hamm said.
The deployment of car cameras into patrol cars began about 20 years ago. Edmond Police currently have 98 in-car video/audio systems in patrol vehicles, including motorcycles. These systems currently cost about $5,000 per each, Hamm said.