HPD plans to put cameras on officers in coming months

October 23, 2012 3:55:31 PM PDT
Eyewitness News has learned the Houston Police Department will soon be adding digital recorders to the uniforms of dozens of officers, and this could just be the beginning.

The police chief says it's time for the department to get with the 21st century by using body cameras. He says the devices could benefit the department and the citizens.

Houstonian Thuy Ngo said, "I think having that, I think it would provide a better safe environment and people will be accountable of because you will have that recording."

Public reaction over HPD using body cameras during traffic stops and service calls has been mixed ever since Police Chief Charles McClelland announced this week the department has been giving the devices a trial run.

"This is where policing is going in the future," Chief McClelland said. "There are more than 75 law enforcement agencies in the state of Texas that deploy this type of technology. And just about every law enforcement agency across the nation has some of this technology."

A body cam caught an exchange between a grandma and a Keene police officer in the Fort Worth area back in August. After refusing orders to hand over her license, the officer yanked the 77-year-old out of her car.

Chief McClelland says the body cameras can capture investigations from the officer's point of view and can give a more accurate account on an officer's interaction with a citizen. He's hoping to have body cams on 100 officers in a few months.

"I think there ought to be caution in using them, not on everybody," suggested Houstonian Erma Martin.

The police chief hopes to have those officers regularly using body cameras by next summer. But there's also a lot of mixed reaction coming from the police union.


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