Police Body Cameras - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Police Body Cameras

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The idea of equipping law enforcement officers with body cameras has been a hot topic for many years. Already, police departments nationwide are doing experimental runs, including the Fort Worth Police Department.

According to Texomans, these body cams show promising signs of accountability.

"It's good to have it. It would be better protection for the victim and the cop" said Wichita Falls resident Concepcion Velasquez.

"They already have cameras on the cars so why not? That would help them in legal matters and it would also help the public with liable suits" said David Bowling, also a Wichita Falls resident.

These cameras would act as an extra set of digital eyes to shield officers from citizen complaints as well as help the public with officer's use of excessive force.

"A camera allows us to follow what actually happened versus what someone's story is. Anyone can tell stories and stories are not always true" said former Airman David Youngblood.

However, these are some cons that come with the idea of body cams. Officers are already equipped with heavy items including radios, batons and much more. The cost of the cameras can also be pretty pricey. It runs from a few hundred to over $1000 each, but the devices could potentially pay for themselves if a few court complaints and lawsuits are avoided.

"Accusations of excessive force will definitely decrease because they have all the proof right there. They can always go back and check" said Wichita Falls resident Micaela Lekennedy.

These cameras do bring some promising statistics. A police department in Rialto, California put cameras on their officers. They saw the number of citizen complaint files drop by 88%, and more importantly the use of excessive force by officers declined by 59%.

Other cities that are experimenting with these body cams include Phoenix, Scottsdale and Greensboro, N.C., and smaller towns like Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Even campus cops at San Jose State University in California are also being equipped with these devices.

Cynthia Kobayashi, Newschannel Six.