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Houston’s Police Chief Outlines Body Camera Plan

HPD says they’ve established a clear, far-reaching policy on when the devices need to be recording.

Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland has spent five years on the beat. He credits rank and file officers for making the Bayou City safer. But McClelland is concerned that staffing could soon be an issue.

All Houston Police Department officers will be equipped with body cameras within about a year, Houston’s police chief says.

Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland says officers at the Central Patrol and Southeast divisions will get body cameras within three to four months. He says those stations will set the pace for how quickly they can equip others.

“We’re estimating it may take one station a month,” McClelland says. “But if those two go smoothly, no glitches, we may be able to do two a month.”

HPD outfitted 100 officers with body cameras in a pilot program last December. The chief says they’ve established a clear, far-reaching policy on when the devices need to be recording. He says officers must turn the cameras on any time they’re engaged in a law enforcement activity.

“So we expect it to be on,” he says. “And when they turn it off, we expect them to give an explanation on the camera of why it was turned off.”

An example of that may be if the officer is in a sensitive situation, like interviewing a sexual assault victim.

In terms of releasing videos, McClelland says his policy will be to do so as soon as the department completes any necessary investigations.

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Tomeka Weatherspoon

Producer

Tomeka Weatherspoon is an Emmy-award winning producer. She produces segments, the weekly television program Arts InSight, the short film showcase The Territory and a forthcoming digital series on innovation. Originally from the Midwest, Tomeka studied convergence journalism from the world’s first journalism school at the University of Missouri. She has...

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