, Muskogee, OK

February 10, 2014

Officer body cameras a good idea

— The Muskogee Police Department believes it would benefit if its officers wore body cameras while doing their jobs.

We tend to agree, but the benefit is twofold. Not only will the department benefit, but the public will benefit as well.

The cameras and system to store the data is estimated to cost $250,000.

It’s a hefty initial price tag that raises a caution flag.

There’s no question body cameras will help the department.

Dashboard cameras protect both the officers and citizens. If they can be afforded, body cameras offer even more protection.

Cameras decrease the likelihood of abuse of power. They also will decrease the likelihood of officers being accused of something they didn’t do.

The department has been testing body cameras from several different companies for more than a year. This is a prudent move for the department to evaluate whether the idea is worthwhile before equipping the entire force with body cameras.

Traditional dashboard cameras are limited to what takes place in front of an officer’s vehicle. The body cameras will show what the officer sees.

The department also says the cameras can be used as a teaching tool, allowing for immediate feedback.

If the money is there to fund, repair, replace and maintain the body cameras, it’s a no-brainer.