APD to host public meeting on body cameras

FILE - Lakeway police body cam (KXAN File Photo)
FILE - Lakeway police body cam (KXAN File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department will be hosting an informational meeting Monday, Nov. 30 to discuss new body camera legislation, share highlights of their planned policy and answer community questions.

Spanish interpretation will be provided.

For parking and bus route information, click here. 

If you can’t make it to the meeting, or want to submit a question before the meeting, you can text “camera” to 512-842-4750 or tweet @Austin_Police using #APDbodycam.

You can also learn more about the program by visiting this site. 

  • The event is from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Monday at the Palmer Events Center
    900 Barton Springs Road, 2nd floor
    Meeting rooms 1 and 2

KXAN has investigated the community’s interest in a police body worn camera program for more than a year. APD have insisted the product they choose auto activate when an officer leaves their patrol car.

The idea is to prevent any chance an officer would forget to turn on the device while responding to a life-threatening call where video could later be used as evidence in a criminal case or citizen complaint.

Common questions about body camera usage range from privacy issues to how long video and audio from an officer’s body camera will be stored to when an officer can turn off the camera manually. Austin is the last major Texas city to implement a body-worn camera program for its police officers.

Most suburban cities in Central Texas supply body-worn cameras for their police officers and in some cases pilot projects are underway with city animal control and parking enforcement staff.

Recently city council approved more than $2 million to get the program up and running. Cameras would be supplied to 500 officers at first including those working the busy downtown area. Senior APD staff tell KXAN that should happen by the Fourth of July once a vendor is chosen. That call for vendors is due out shortly. KXAN checked the city contract page Saturday and there was no open solicitation request posted for police body cams.

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