Reporting Jason Allen
RICHLAND HILLS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Just like a badge and a gun, standard equipment for police in Richland Hills now includes a camera. Patrol officers started wearing the body cameras last week, as an extension to cameras already in patrol cars.
About the same size as a pager, the black cameras can be clipped on a uniform pocket or lapel. Sliding open a small door on the front reveals a lens and automatically starts recording video and sound. Whenever officers leave the view of their patrol car cameras and audio, the body camera takes over.
“If we go search a house, or we’re interviewing a suspect or a witness, then we have a camera audio video with us at all times,” said officer Sheena Parsons.
The department, which has cameras in all its patrol vehicles, had been considering personal cameras for some time, Parsons said. Officers tested several versions, but the VIEVU was the easiest to operate, and easy to sync with their car camera system. Officers can load videos onto a computer and store them alongside dash cameras from the same incident or case.
Parsons said the cameras won’t be used regularly at traffic stops, or routine patrols. The videos are dropped from the storage system after 90 days if they’re not saved as evidence for a case.
“We’re pretty much going to use it when we think it’s necessary,” she said. “Whether or not we’re picking up evidence, viewing a crime scene, interviewing a suspect, talking to a witness.”
The cameras made by a company called VIEVU, sell on the company website for about $900 each. The department does not have a camera for all of its 25 members, but shares them between officers on duty.
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