Austin City Council will consider Austin Police Department’s $17 million proposal to hire Taser as its body camera contractor this Thursday, May 19. The City Council meeting starts at 9:55 a.m. on Thursday May 19. The items are 30 and 31 on the agenda.
You can review the APD Body Camera Policy here. The city council is not voting on the policy this week, but we do need to start the conversation.
Footage cannot be shown to “embarrass” an employee of APD, a restriction that might be used to withhold footage that shows an officer doing something wrong.
Officers are not required to notify people when they’re being recorded.
Officers are given a lot of discretion in deciding when to turn the cameras on.
There should be a process for deleting footage, unless it’s required for an on-going investigation.
We also need a clearer process for releasing footage under public information requests.
Please contact Austin City Council and the Public Safety Commission and ask them require a more thorough policy that takes into account community input.
For more information on body camera policy recommendations by groups like Center for Constitutional Right, ACLU, Cato and the Urban Institute, visit www.atxbodycam.com.