NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - When the NOPD rolled out its body warn camera program in 2014, the department said it wanted to make sure officers were using them when they were supposed to.
"So, we have a policy that states we have to turn them on for all required calls for service and other citizen-involved contacts during investigations," Danny Murphy said.
Last summer, Murphy, the NOPD's deputy chief of the Compliance Bureau, began doing monthly internal audits, breaking the data down by districts and platoons.
"Some districts are doing better than others, and sometimes, they would fluctuate over time. When we'd see an issue, we'd address why aren't we turning on the cameras here," Murphy said.
Murphy said the audit immediately began holding officers accountable. He says, in the beginning, he found that officers were using their cameras 80 percent of the time.
"We started in the 80s, but by doing these monthly checks, we quickly got up to 97 percent and have been over 97 percent for the past year, " Murphy said.
The body worn cameras were not mandated by the consent decree, the NOPD made choice to get them, and Chief Michael Harrison said it's paid off.
"We've obviously seen that it has changed officer behavior. It's changed citizen behavior. It's also built a trust with the community," says Chief Harrison.
The NOPD says the camera footage is a vital part of the process. Footage was used to exonerate officers during a fatal police shooting in Central City.
"I'm happy it's exonerated our officers and proved they are not at fault, but it's an educational tool to help us determine how to better deliver police services," Harrison said.
The NOPD says the footage is often used by the District Attorney's office, and it's also a way for the NOPD to be more transparent.