Police Hope To Clear Up Body Camera Issue

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Wichita Police Department is hoping to clear up a controversy surrounding officers wearing body cameras.

Earlier this week, a news release from the Fraternal Order of Police said a certain number of officers would no longer be required to wear body cams. But police officials say the issue isn't just about wanting to wear the cameras.

What's at stake is if the officer is the lone witness to an event while wearing a camera, what other information from the officer's background could come to the forefront during a trial? The concern is it could be something that would 'taint' that officer's credibility. Both the FOP and the Wichita Police Department point to court cases that could impair the officer's credibility in court.

Deputy Chief John Speer tells KAKE News that right now, Wichita officers are not required to wear the cameras. "As a result of this current grievance, we are going to go back to the table and discuss this with our attorneys, as well as with their attorney and come to some sort of agreement on this."

The Wichita Police Department has 45 cameras, and many officers do wear them. But the department and the FOP are in negotiations over the issue.

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