Houston residents can expect to see an added accessory on Houston police officers while out on patrol. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Acting Police Chief Martha I. Montalvo recently flipped the switch on the much-anticipated deployment of the Body-Worn Camera Program for officers of the Houston Police Department.
More than 200 officers from the HPD Central Patrol Division received their body-worn cameras and training on the operations. Over the next 12 to 18 months, a total of 4,100 body-worn cameras will be distributed department-wide to HPD officers in various divisions.
Since distribution and testing of 100 body-worn cameras during a pilot program started in December 2013, HPD has recognized the benefits of using the cameras to continue working cooperatively with the public to help prevent crime and provide a safe environment. The cameras also help in fostering transparency and accountability, which in turn helps improve community relations and strengthen public trust.
"This is an exciting day for Houston and the Houston Police Department. Today, we begin the process of becoming the largest city to deploy body cameras for all of our uniformed officers," said Mayor Turner. "These cameras can be beneficial for our officers and for the public. No longer is it 'he said, she said.' Just like the automatic replay in sports, we are going to depend on these cameras as evidence of what really happened," Mayor Turner added.
Acting Police Chief Montalvo said, "The Houston Police Department has always viewed technology as a force multiplier. We anticipate the body worn cameras will foster accountability and help to improve public trust. The deployment of the cameras will begin at Central Patrol and, upon completion, will be the largest implementation of body cameras by a police agency in the country."