Police in Austin, Texas, to Receive 500 Body Cameras; Public Safety Committee Seeks Guidelines

The state of Texas is giving $10 million for the purchase of body cameras for police departments.

AUSTIN, Texas — Body cameras are coming to police officers here. However, the Public Safety Committee (PSC) has some questions about the specifics.

“If you’re going to wear some kind of camera, is it going to be on your chest or your body, or is it going to be launched to your head so it follows your view?” Councilman Don Zimmerman asked in a KXAN report. “Is the officer allowed to use discretion to turn the camera off?”

Zimmerman and the PSC want a proper policy in place to outline when and how police officers should use body cameras.

What Zimmerman didn’t ask is if the cameras are necessary. The state is shelling out $10 million across the state for police departments to buy the surveillance cameras. Austin will receive $750,000 for 500 cameras, according to the report.

More and more police departments are adopting the use of body cameras to improve transparency with the public and to assist in investigations into crimes or complaints against officers.

A training guide has been developed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement to teach the officers when to start recording with the cameras, as well as when to turn them off. The committee will also receive updates on reports concerning police and racial profiling, the report states.

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