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City, Fraternal Order of Police reach agreement on use of body cameras

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Nearly three years ago the Wichita Police Department added these cameras to its force. In an interview with Jeff Easter, former WPD Patrol North Captain, in 2011 he said "with this type of camera system it would all be on tape and we could submit that as evidence."

However, not everyone may have been happy with these cameras. The Fraternal Order of Police Wichita Lodge 5 issued a grievance on behalf of 13 officers. According to an anonymous letter from the FOP now they don't have to.

In it, it states:
"In plain English this means the Grievants will no longer be required to wear the Axon body cameras. The Grievants will be able to work-part time employment in the capacity of a law enforcement officer. The Grievants are allowed to participate in all assignments .....The Grievants will no longer be required to have a witness to any law enforcement action or reassigned to non-critical positions within the Department.

Sunflower Community Action, a local organization instrumental in getting these body cams, don't understand why officers wouldn't want to use the technology. "Police officers and also citizens would be protected and each side would be held accountable for their actions," Reuben Eckels, Sunflower Community Action Deputy Director said.

They're calling this settlement a setback and hope this doesn't discourage officers from using the technology available. "We hope that our state and our city will be reasonable and going back to doing what is necessary which is taking care and account of every citizen," Eckels said.

According to the FOP letter, with the settlement, the city will pay close to $28,000 to the FOP on behalf of officers to provide partial compensation for lost wages.

KAKE News talked to the President of the Fraternal Order of Police Wichita Lodge 5 about the settlement. They would not comment to us until they spoke to their organization's attorney.


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