El Reno police officers are wearing body cameras for a number of reasons, but one of the most important reasons, one official said, is to develop trust.
Assistant Police Chief Maj. Kirk Dickerson said the body cameras will help ensure transparency.
Body cameras are used by law enforcement throughout the country. Dickerson said they help ensure good relations between the department and the people the officers are sworn to protect and serve.
Dickerson said the cameras not only collect valuable evidence in criminal cases, but also help to protect the officers.
Before body cameras, El Reno police used dash cameras only and mobile phone cameras in certain instances to document cases. Officers have used their phones to take photos of evidence, including seized drugs and wounds inflicted by an unruly person.
“There are times in which an officer’s actions come under immense scrutiny," Dickerson said. “It is believed the implementation of the body-worn camera program will enhance transparency, therefore fostering a high degree of public trust in the actions of the officers who serve the citizens of El Reno.”
Dickerson said the cameras will help provide audio and video that can be used during investigations and as evidence in municipal, state or federal court. He said they will also document an officer’s actions while interacting with civilians and can aid in providing an evaluation of compliance with agency policy and procedures.
He said the technology will also help identify officer safety and training needs and to document officers as they are trained in the field.
El Reno joins four other law enforcement agencies in Canadian County using the cameras.
Body cameras have been used across the nation for years, but they gained traction in 2014. The technology became more popular in 2015 after polls indicated that 85 percent of the American population supported the use of body cameras.