Topeka Police Department gets 200 body cameras

Officer Josh Miller wearing an Axon Flex body camera
Officer Josh Miller wearing an Axon Flex body camera

TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Topeka Police Department has purchased 200 body cameras for its officers to use in the field.

Lt. Shane Lind said TPD began looking at Axon body cameras in 2011. He said they wanted a better alternative for in-car cameras.

He said, “In-car cameras have limitations. They only look one direction. And if an officer leaves the car, the camera doesn’t go with them.”

The Axon Flex camera used by the Topeka Police Department is mounted on a headband or sunglasses. This allows video and audio to be gathered from the point of view of the officer wearing it.

Then, “if you look left and right in a car, it’s giving you what’s left and right at an intersection,” said Lind. “With the in-car camera, you can just see straight ahead.”

According to Lind, each body camera stores about 10 hours of video and audio. At the end of the day, the data is uploaded to a cloud server.

If something happens in the field, police can go back and look at the footage to confirm what officers or community members witnessed. He says the more cameras they have, the better picture they get of what happened.

“It’s like watching a football game,” said Lind. “They go to this angle. They go to this angle. And they review it. So Officer A has a camera, Officer B has a camera. You have various angles, various perspectives […] The more recordings we have, the better off we’re going to be.”

TPD has 100 body cameras now. According to Lind, they’re waiting for 100 more to arrive.

Capt. Scott Conklin said, “Our plan from the beginning was to purchase until we had a camera on every officer who is responsible for responding to calls for service. The limiting factor was the cost until now.”

Conklin said a few months ago, Security Benefit gifted the department with a $75,000 donation to be paid in increments of $15,000 over the course of the next five years. He said this created an opportunity to move forward faster.

 

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