The 2,000 body cameras already deployed will stay in use. But distribution has been paused while the city considers options after complaints about battery life. Ray Hunt is president of the Houston Police Officers Union.
“Well, it’s not surprising in that we have a new mayor, we have a new police chief, we have a new district attorney — that these folks want to make sure that we’re getting our best bang for our buck. It’ll just be any additional implementation of additional body cameras until they make sure this is the vendor, this is the technology and this is the storage type that we want to utilize.”
Hunt says the union supports the concept of body cams, once the battery issue can be resolved.
“We haven’t had as many complaints from the newer cameras brought to us by WatchGuard. But the earlier body cameras, they were cutting out after six or seven hours.”
Houston signed a five-year deal with WatchGuard in 2015 for $6.3 million. Specifications have to be re-written, because Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo wants a feature that would automatically activate the camera. There have been instances of officers around the country not turning on their cameras before shootings. Companies now offer cameras that begin recording when an officer pulls his or her gun or when emergency lights or sirens are turned on. WatchGuard says the auto-activation feature wasn’t included in the city’s original request.