Ft. Worth Police To Triple List Of Officers With Video Cameras


The number of Ft. Worth, Tx., police officers wearing video cameras will triple with the City Council's approval of 400 additional devices, reports the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. The purchase will equip 600 officers with Taser International's Axon flex cameras, making the police department the nation’s largest user of the Axon cameras. “The advantages are multiple,” said Police Chief Jeff Halstead. “For first-level patrol officers that are young in their careers … this ensures that their decisions and their activities were fair and within policy. Without it, it is literally sometimes just their word against what we're hearing from either the call, the suspect or the witnesses. For investigators … you're getting real-time and real-life responses to questions directly related to a criminal investigation.”

The police department now has 200 cameras in use, most for patrol officers and others in the traffic division and spread among zero tolerance, gang and SWAT units. The cameras attach to the officer's glasses or collar. Since Dec. 13, every graduating recruit is trained to use a camera and assigned one. Already, officers have recorded more than 26,000 videos. The videos are uploaded to Evidence.com, where detectives and supervisors can view them as evidence in criminal prosecutions, or while investigating administrative concerns or a citizen's complaint about an officer's behavior. “There is absolutely no way to tamper with this evidence,” Halstead said. “It's impossible for employees to alter it in its original state. It cannot happen.”

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