Austin mayor wants body cameras for Austin Police in 2016

FILE - Austin police car (KXAN File Photo)
FILE - Austin police car (KXAN File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Austin Mayor Steve Adler says he wants Austin police officers to wear body cameras beginning next year.

Adler made the statement at a forum hosted by the Travis County Democratic Party Monday night, focusing on race and policing.

As police across the country have faced scrutiny, Adler says he wants to make getting body cameras a priority in the next year, at a cost of $11 million.

“Waiting until 2017 is too long,” Adler said. “I think we roll them out as soon as can we get the cameras in place.”

Adler pointed out 20 officers already wear body cameras.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo and NAACP President Nelson Linder were also in attendance.

In April, KXAN’s Robert Maxwell found out Austin Police would not have the body camera program fully rolled out until 2017.

In November 2014, Maxwell reported APD brass were waiting for technology to catch up to their needs which included a body camera that could activate remotely when a patrol officer opened their car door.

In June, Maxwell discovered just such a technology in neighboring Lakeway where police motorcycle officers have been testing a bluetooth-enabled activation technology offered by TASER International. When an officer turns on their emergency lights or siren, the body camera also activates, freeing up the officer from having to manually turn on the small, helmet or shoulder-mounted camera.

APD expect the the body camera program will cost $2M to get going and total $7M over five years to outfit the majority of the Department’s 1,800 officers.

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