APD officially implementing body cams

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Earlier this year, the Amarillo City Council approved spending $1.4 million on new body cameras and car cameras for the Amarillo Police Department.

The new technology has officially rolled out, and APD said it has been successful in its first couple of months.

All patrolling officers have been wearing body cams now for two months but they are not turned on all the time. They are required to start recording any time the officer makes the initiation.

“So, on traffic stops, or if we stop someone, like if were walking down the street, or we see something suspicious, and we’re going to make contact with an individual then those are circumstances where it’s required,” said APD Sgt. Carla Burr.

Sgt. Burr explained the body cams sync up with the cameras in each officer’s car — one in the front of the vehicle and one in the backseat —to give a more complete account of an incident. The car cameras start recording automatically when the lights are turned on.

“The whole point is for us to be able to look at all angles of the situation, and so any time we can add, any time we can gain more information for us and for the community, that’s always going to be good,” said Sgt. Burr.

It is also good to make sure the department is being transparent with the community, but that was not a concern for officers.

“The thing with these is that everybody assumes the officers don’t want the cameras, and we do, we want them just as much as the public wants us to have them,” said APD Cpl. Jeb Hilton.

Cpl. Hilton told us not only will the new technology add to the department’s transparency, but it could also help officers track down suspects. In fact, it already has.

“I believe it was Potter County where they had video footage from body cam where a suspect had run from a deputy on a motorcycle, and it got close enough to the video to where we could actually identify the guy by the video by looking at his face,” said Cpl. Hilton.

All footage is stored in accordance with state records, meaning it is treated like evidence and will be kept as long as the statute of limitations allows for each case.

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