(WICHITA, Kan.) — Six of them, at $5,000 a piece, may add up to a safer Wichita. The city begins testing a new type of cameras for police officers -- the kind they wear on their heads.
"We currently have a dash mounted video camera system in our traffic vehicles," explained Capt. Jeff Easter. Several patrol cars have had those for the last two years. But "that system only picks up what is in front of the vehicle," he explained.
The concept seems like something out of a futuristic movie; a camera mounted on the side of an officer's head. "It sees exactly what the officer sees," said Easter.
The city began testing the cameras last week. All 6 of them are on officers at Patrol North Bureau. Wichita is the largest city to test these cameras in the U.S.
"Somehow, someone's recognizing that they are needed here," said Sena Peden. She's championed the police camera cause for years. "Our school busses have cameras," she said. "Our malls have cameras. They are everywhere."
Peden believes the cameras would be in the best interest of all parties. "It's an accountability issue for the officers, as well as the citizens," she said.
Capt. Easter agreed. "It's the Officer's word against the defendant in court. With this type of camera system, it would all be on tape. We can submit that as evidence." Easter said the cameras have already helped gather evidence in three shootings, two robberies, and two DUI cases.
So next time you see a Wichita police officer, smile. You may be on camera.