The Austin Police Department has announced that beginning next month, officers who patrol neighborhoods outside of the downtown area will receive the department’s first round of body cameras.
A total of 198 cameras will be issued to officers working out of the East Substation in the city’s Govalle neighborhood. This will be done during the first week of October.
Earlier this year, Austin purchased a total of 724 body cameras from Taser International. The department has also been working to build up the infrastructure that’s needed store data and support systems that they collect.
In November, 234 more officers will receive body cameras at the department’s downtown headquarters, while 228 more officers will receive them at the South Substation in December. In total, 660 officers will receive these cameras.
Furthermore, by the time the end of the year comes around, only officers who work the North Substation will be left without these body cameras. This also includes district representatives and detectives. Additionally, the department will also require 776 more cameras for the remaining officers; however, these are expected to be requested in 2018 from the Austin City Council.
Back in 2015, city leaders in Austin made it a priority for police officers to be outfitted with body cameras; however, the process was slowed down after Utility Associates sued the city, despite failing to win the contract to supply Austin with the cameras themselves. Utility lost out to Taser International. The contract with Taser was put on hold in 2016 by a judge when the lawsuit was filed by Utility; however, in March, it was ruled by an appellate court that Utility had no right to sue due to local government code only allowing those who pay taxes to the city to sue over issues regarding contracts. Utility has since appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court.
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