Photo Credit: Emmanuel Briseño
UT Police Department To Wear Body Cameras
The UT Police Department has started wearing body cameras as a way to build trust within the community.
“This is something we believe is important to the UT community and to UTPD,” UTPD Chief David Carter said. “This is something to ensure that people have confidence and trust when it comes to our department.”
UTPD has a five-year $450,000 contract with Axon, a public safety technology company formerly known as Taser International. The cameras will only be activated when law enforcement officers are interacting with individuals in an official capacity, such as responding to a call, making an arrest or writing a ticket.
The footage will automatically have a time and date stamp when turned on and will then be stored in a cloud system through Axon. The footage cannot be altered, but UTPD supervisors will do random audits to check if proper guidelines are being followed by officers.
“I inherently trust my officers, but at the same time, we want to ensure that we’re doing the right thing,” Carter said. “There’s an opportunity to recognize that you may not have violated policy, but there could have been a better way to communicate, things like that. There’s an opportunity to see if there’s a better way that we can handle an issue.”
Carter reached out to UT Student Government last December to inform them about the plans for the cameras.
“The fact that UTPD came to the student body with the idea of implementing body cameras is a true testament to their commitment to safety and accountability,” former Student Body President Kevin Helgren, neuroscience and psychology senior, said in a statement.
To learn more, read the Daily Texan’s article HERE.