New body cams give peace of mind to Muskogee drivers and deputies
MUSKOGEE, Okla. (KTUL) - If you get pulled over by a Muskogee County deputy, be on your best behavior, because you'll be on camera.
Before Christmas, the sheriff's office plans to equip every deputy in the field with a new body cam.
Now, there won't be any question about what happened or what was said when deputies encounter the public.
We rode along with Sheriff Rob Frazier as he tested one of the cameras.
He pulled over a small Nissan coupe, containing a driver and a belligerent dog.
Frazier greeted both as he approached the car, but the dog lunged at him, barking loudly.
"Look out! Scared me to death," Frazier laughed.
From the nervous dog to the polite driver, it's all on the video record.
Frazier said the cameras will give him peace of mind, and he won't have to worry so much about his people on the streets.
Frazier said, "A lot of times, you've got two sides to every story, but then, you've got the video here that will tell the correct story."
The deputies will switch the camera on every time they encounter the public.
All the video will be saved for at least 30 days to give them time to decide what's needed as evidence.
The biggest problem with the cameras is the cost of video storage.
So, they are working on rules to keep the important recordings and delete those that aren't needed.
The system they've purchased is made by Reveal Media, and it has an interesting feature. The cameras all have small video screens, so the public can see what's being recorded.
Steve Venable of Reveal Media said the screen has a sobering effect on people.
"We've been told it is a behavioral change. When they see they are being recorded, they clean up their act very quickly," Venable said.
While some of the office's older deputies aren't crazy about being recorded, the sheriff said he thinks the cameras will pay off for the public and his people.
Frazier said, "Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, this is an insurance policy for that officer that does the right thing. Now, he's got the video to back up."
The traffic stop he made raised some concerns, because the woman was driving a car with Oklahoma plates but she had a Nevada driver's license.
As it turned out, she's just in the area to visit family and was driving a relative’s car. So, Frazier sent her off with a warning to buckle up her seat belt.