OPD officers are now wearing body cameras

Posted at 5:16 PM, May 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-27 18:16:12-04

In the wake of some high profile officer involved shootings, police departments across the country turned to body cameras as a way to try to help improve the public’s trust by boosting transparency. 

“Not only do citizens become a little bit more sensitive to what police officers do, police officers are a little more sensitive to the situation,” said Chief Deputy Gregory Gonzalez. 

The Omaha Police Department says they were thinking about getting body cameras well before some of the national instances occurred.  In the summer of 2014, OPD did a body camera pilot program. 

Thanks to an $800,000 donation by the Omaha Police Foundation the department was able to purchase 115 body cameras manufactured by TASER International Inc.

On Friday, Omaha Police Officer Matt Austin demonstrated exactly how the body cameras work and what they capture by using a virtual simulator. 

All OPD officers should be trained with their body cameras by the end of the summer.

Chief Deputy Gregory Gonzalez says like any other police tool, there is a policy in place for when an officer should hit record. 

“Whenever there is an official radio call or a citizen's roadside contact, that body cam should be activated,” said Gonzalez.

When an officer is done with their shift they'll take off their body camera and put it in the charging dock, the video will start uploading from there.

All of the video will be kept in the system for the length of the agreement with TASER International.  The department has unlimited storage capacity.

Chief Deputy Gonzalez says the department can't wait to get all their body cameras out on the streets.

“Down the road we know citizens complaints will not only reduce, but that officer interaction and accountability will improve as well,” said Gonzalez.