Houston PD Pushes for Automatically Activated Body Cams

Posted By Guerra & Farah, PLLC || 21-Dec-2016

In an effort to increase transparency within the police department, the Houston Police Department is pushing for reform to change body cameras so the device begins recording sooner. Earlier in the summer, police officers’ body cams caught footage of an armed man being shot and killed – but the cameras did not begin filming the incident until after the man had been shot.

Skeptics arguing that the incident was yet another occurrence of police brutality and misconduct were not convinced that authorities were honest in their claims that the victim was allegedly pointing his guns at officers. Furthermore, citizens and officials worried that the department as a whole could not investigate the shooting death objectively. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, however, is advocating for changes to be implemented in regards to body cams. Acevedo’s reform would require body cams to begin filming automatically when police officers exit their vehicles – Acevedo says he hopes this will improve transparency and help investigations.

“The last thing they should be worrying about is hitting a button”

Body cams that are automatically activated can help situations pertaining critical moments that are not captured on video. “When an officer turns a corner and they see a person being shot or assaulted or stabbed, the last thing they should be worrying about is hitting a button,” Acevedo said.

Senior Policy Strategist of ACLU of Texas Matthew Simpson worked with Acevedo on a similar proposal in Austin and found that both officers and civilians have had fewer complaints since the implementation of the new body cams. Police departments across the nation are still undecided on when the appropriate time is to release body cam footage – former Houston Police Chief Charles A. McClelland stated that Texas law allows the public release of body cam footage only after the case’s verdict has been reached.

Our Houston personal injury attorneys represent victims of police brutality and wrongful police shootings. If you or a loved one is a victim to police misconduct, we invite you to contact The Law Office of Guerra & Farah, PLLC today.

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