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A closer look at OPD's new body cam technology

Posted at 5:18 PM, Dec 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-21 18:30:24-05

The Omaha Police Department will get almost 500 new body cameras in the next year, and the company that manufactures them says they're having a big impact on police/community relations.

Tuesday, the Omaha City Council unanimously approved purchasing 460 new body cameras for OPD at a cost of $1.3 million.  They will use an automatic system that will activate the cameras when an officer turns on their cruiser lights, releases a taser safety switch, or unholsters their firearm.

Steve Tuttle the VP of Strategic Communications with Axon, the manufacturer of these body cameras, says the new system will allow officers not to worry about turning on the body camera when in a stressful situation.

All the sudden some guy draws a gun on you or your faced with a life threatening event, you're not there to be a film director and quickly double press this camera," Tuttle explained. "We want that officer to engage in his public safety role but there's ways to get that camera on using certain technology called Axon Signal."

The video is stored on a cloud and can quickly be reviewed or used as evidence in any case.

Including the ones already purchased, Omaha will have a total of 575 body cameras and will equip their entire patrol unit.

Axon says it's reducing the number of complaints against police and "Use of Force" is dropping for departments using the equipment.

The Omaha Police Department will start getting the new body cameras in May, and have all 460 of them on the patrol unit officers by the end of 2018.