Austin police officers could soon be getting body cameras

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Dozens gathered for a forum Tuesday night, taking a close look at the Austin Police Department’s accountability. The forum was an opportunity for people with different perspectives to weigh in on the matter. The Travis County Democratic Party hosted the discussion at North Door off of East Fifth Street.

Dozens of people showed up to hear what panelists had to say. The panel included APD Chief Art Acevedo, the president of the Austin Police Association, the City of Austin Police Monitor, the director of the Texas Civil Rights Project and the president of the local NAACP chapter.

They answered questions about policies surrounding use of force by officers and restrictions on gun use. They also talked about training for APD officers — both out in the field and for dealing with issues such as race and prejudice.

One question for the panelists was whether body cameras on officers would improve accountability. Acevedo said it’s likely not far off.

“I predict within the next year — we’ve been testing them — we’ll have a proposal for council, to get the personal cameras,” he said. “So, it will be a huge benefit because it’s going to capture what the officer’s doing, which is the right thing almost 100 percent of the time.”

Earlier this year, the Georgetown Police Department started requiring its officers to wear body cameras.

The other panelists also agreed cameras would be beneficial. The floor was opened up for questions from the audience, too.

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