Frederick Police Department invests in body cameras

Frederick Police Department invests in body cameras

FREDERICK, Okla._The Frederick Police Department is among the growing list of law enforcement agencies around the country to invest in body cameras for their officers.

They can provide an officer's perspective about any incidents or confrontations that could become dangerous. The police department spent about $6,800 on 12 cameras, including the cables and cases to protect them.

The Frederick Police Department received a justice assistance grant from the District Attorney's Council. After research, Frederick Police decided the cameras provide a lot of benefit, but the police chief says they are nowhere near perfect.

The department started to search for possible body cameras in 2013. The crews first got the Wolfcom 3RD cameras in 2014 and have been using them ever since. Frederick Police Chief Joel Neely says the have been beneficial to the department and recommends them to others.

"Their usefulness in the great scheme is awesome. They create evidence, they protect us from civil liability, they protect us from personal liability. It's in the best interest of the officer to use it," explained Chief Neely.

The cameras come with an array of benefits like infrared filming, GPS and they are extremely durable. The cameras also provide a choice to the officer on where they want to wear it.

It's tough to wear it on the chest because of the cameras build and weight. These factors tend to sway the camera and can get in the way of the officer's movement.

Officers are finding that isn't the only downside to these cameras.

The cameras shoot in 1080p, which is great for the video quality, but it's easy to get out of the picture.

"You have got the struggle right here, that we see on camera, then the shootout that occurs over here outside of the view of the camera. Same thing. There is a big push right now that body cameras are the end-all-be-all. They are not," said Chief Neely.

Neely says another struggle is enforcing the officers to actually use the cameras. Neely says the officers should be using the cameras at any traffic stop or call to service. He called enforcing the use of the cameras "the single toughest thing involved."

The Frederick Police Department was not prompted by a specific incident involving one of their own officers to get the cameras, but they decided it would be a good to have them before something does occur.