WPD chief on releasing body cam video: 'It's clear that's what we need to do'

Published: Feb. 6, 2018 at 6:40 PM CST
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It was seven seconds of video that reignited the discussion of police body cameras in Wichita and what should be released to the public.

An officer body camera captured the moment a fellow officer shot and killed an unarmed man in what turned out to be a prank call.

We asked Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay why he decided to release the “swatting” incident when others had remained sealed.

“These (cameras) are paid for by the public. In high profile there needs to be strong consideration in releasing these to the public,” says Ramsay.

“I think the public has spoken and it's clear that's what we need to do.”

Chief Ramsay tells FactFinder 12 that he promises now moving forward to release more videos.

“In police shootings we will be releasing videos. I think that's the direction the citizens want it whether we are right or wrong the video needs to be released.”

That’s when officers use force. The answer isn’t so clear in other cases.

FactFinder 12 asked for body camera video from departments across the state and this week will show you how inconsistent the results were.

Chief Ramsay says there’s confusion, lack of consistency and lack of direction from state lawmakers.

He would like policy makers to give clear direction to departments.

“It shouldn't be go across the street and one department policy is this, and the other is something completely different.”

Ramsay says privacy is a big issue. Should all body cam video be released? What if you are a victim of a crime, or you report one?

“Should your neighbors be able to come in and request video on you?”

Would you want your traffic stop to end up on the news?

“I think of some of our worst days and now they may be caught on camera by police," Ramsay says.

Protect privacy, but at the same time Ramsay says they need to protect transparency.

“At a high level people think video should be released.”