Activists want more dashboard cams on HPD squad cars

A coalition of civil liberty activists wants the Houston Police Department to put more cameras on police cars
January 14, 2014 4:43:11 PM PST
A coalition of civil liberty activists wants the Houston Police Department to put more cameras on police cars.

The group held a news conference at city hall Tuesday afternoon, where they argued that only five percent of Houston police cars have dashboard cameras. The activists say more dashboard cameras would shed light on what happens during officer-involved shootings or other incidents.

"Over 90 percent of the police officers are doing a great job and aren't involved in this," said Stephen Flores with Communications Workers of America. "Unfortunately, they don't know what car they're always in and the cameras need to be in as many cars as possible."

The police union says the city is starting to use lapel-based cameras. In addition, outfitting 2,500 police cars with cameras will cost millions of dollars better spent on police officers.

On Tuesday afternoon, HPD responded with the following statement:

    "In keeping with our stance of accountability to the public and transparency, we are in the process of implementing newer technology with the body camera system, of which approximately 100 have been deployed. Currently, our DWI patrol units are the only vehicles to have dash cams. However, as previously stated, the majority of incidents (more than 90%)occur away from the patrol vehicles and thus outside of view of the dash cams. Additionally, there are storage issues that make the continued use of dash cams not cost effective for the department."

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