DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Police Department is rolling out new body cameras and starting today dozens of patrol officers will start wearing them.
Obtaining the cameras is something the department has been working on for more than two years.
As it stands 66 officers will start wearing the new gear immediately and some 140 more should have the new technology clipped on their collar or belt by the end of the year. The goal is to have 1,000 cameras in use in the next five years.
At a Tuesday press conference, a police officer demonstrated how the camera works. Officers will be required to turn the camera on as soon as they get out of their patrol cars. As it stands, the program is voluntary but there are eight officers, who have had several complaints filed against them, who are required to wear the cameras.
Officials say the body cams are just another tool to help make the department more transparent.
“It will enhance officer safety, it will enhance courtroom testimony which we think will turn into more convictions, that’s helping us with the continued crime rate reduction,” explained Deputy Chief Andrew Acord. “We think we’ll also… hopefully we will see a reduction in use of force.”
If an officer does not turn on the body camera they will have to explain why and if activation becomes a repeated problem supervisors will investigate.
Body cam videos can be stored up to 90 days if not needed for an investigation.
The total cost for 1,000 cameras will be some $3.7 million. Right now only 400 cameras have been funded. Officials with the department say they’re in the process of looking for more money to finance the purchase off the rest of the cameras.
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