Sunday, September 25, 2022

Oxford Police React to New Research on Body Cams

Body camera used by OPD. Picture by Carson McKinney

A new George Mason University study finds that police body cameras seem to be reducing the number of citizen complaints about law enforcement.

The Oxford Police Department finds the cameras very useful.

“Body cams are great because it shows not only what we did, but it shows everything leading up to that,” says Captain Hildon Sessums.

Sessums says the cameras hold everyone accountable, including the police.

“I think it’s also a two-way street on how people behave. One, the officers are going to behave a lot better, and that’s nationwide, and I believe people that we interact with are going to behave a lot better.”

The research indicates that body cams are most often used to prosecute citizens and not the officers. 

Sessums told the story of one local citizen’s complaint about officer misconduct. The department investigated using body cam video and found that the officer had done nothing like what was described. The person who made the false claim was given a warning.

OPD requires all patrol officers to wear body cams while on patrol. Warrant Officer Kevin Houston administers the body camera system.

“An officer works normally a 12-hour shift. When they complete their shift they’ll come in, they’ll take their body camera and put it on this docking station. This docking station downloads everything that they had in contact with for the night or the day and puts it on our server,” says Houston.

OPD plans to continue using body cameras as a way of being transparent with the community.

Story contributed by Grant Gibbons and Carson McKinney.

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