Clute PD among the first in area to use body cameras on all officers

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The Clute Police Department is among the first in the Houston-area to begin use of body cameras on all its officers.

The city just spent over $14,000 to purchase 18 cameras.

Interim Police chief Ernest Pedraza says each officer is now required to record video and audio as they make traffic stops and respond to calls. "It provides the context of the interaction between the police officer and the public. It might benefit the public, it might benefit the officer," said Pedraza.

Clute is a small community of just over 11,000 people. Its former police chief resigned last September following his indictment on charges of theft, tampering with a government record and misapplication of fiduciary property.

Though the cameras are not a direct result of that, the interim police chief says cameras will go a long way toward establishing a new trust with the community and creating a transparency which did not exist before.

"Transparency and accountability...if an officer is doing wrong i want to know about it," said Pedraza.

The only concern we heard is one over privacy: If the cameras were used where there's an expectation of privacy. Otherwise those in the community who we asked about it seem supportive, especially for officers who are under more scrutinty now than ever.

"The vast majority are gonna be good and i think that only helps both sides," said resident Neil Woodward.

Since Clute went ahead with this program before the state passed legislation authorizing funding for the cameras, the chief says the city won't get reimbursement for them.
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