WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Wichita Falls Police Department is one step closer to acquiring body cams for every officer on the squad after Tuesday morning’s city council meeting.
According to Sergeant Charlie Eipper with the Wichita Falls Police Department, a motion was approved to move forward with applying for a grant that will fund the body cams which he said is a win for the department.
They’ve been used throughout the nation and in fact, more and more departments closer to home have been utilizing body cams which the WFPD has but only for their motorcycle units.
“So what today has happened is we’re moving a little closer to getting those body cams issued to our officers that are on the street and today the city council has approved that we apply for grants to get the funds,” Eipper said.
And while they apply for that grant, Mayor Stephen Santellana said the police department will have its hands full after receiving nearly $130,000 in funding for 44 rifle-rated shields.
“When we receive that grant money I think that’s going to help us purchase almost all of the body cams that we need the other item we had today was, of course, those shields and I think 40 out of 44, we did receive that money, we need about $130,000 and we got about $120,000,” Santellana said. “The chief said he’s going to use some seized money to go ahead and purchase those shields.”
The body cams on the other hand come with a price tag of roughly $942,000, a price Eipper said is worth it in the long run.
“For us is of course any allegations of police misconduct or anything like that of course, and then also for our citizens they know they can feel safe that if something was done wrong and an officer acted unprofessionally we have it recorded and the evidence is there either way,” Eipper said.
Something that Mayor Santellana agrees with.
“Hopefully we can get that grant and get these body cams in, it’s a pretty needed accessory that our officers need to be wearing,” Santellana said. “It helps with the documentation and I always tell people that it helps with both sides, our officers and then the people involved in any of these incidents or getting pulled over.”
Giving both civilians and officers that added safety net knowing that someone will always be watching.
Mayor Santellana said typically after applying for the needed grants, it will take roughly 90 days before receiving that funding.