The last of 130 Body Worn Cameras purchased with a 2015 Department of Justice grant are being deployed to Officers of the Corpus Christi Police Operations Division this week.
The Corpus Christi Police was one of only 73 police departments nationwide to receive funding under the initial DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance grant award in 2015. In 2015, Congress, after urging by the President, appropriated approximately twenty million dollars in grant funding to assist local and state law enforcement agencies with the development of body worn camera programs. This followed several controversial police/citizen incidents across the nation, including Ferguson, Baltimore, and New York City. The $250,000 grant awarded to the Corpus Christi Police includes $125,000 in city matching funds.
Prior to receiving the cameras, officers must complete three hours of state mandated training. The training includes information on the functions and proper operation of the camera, department policy, state open records law, the effectiveness of digital video evidence, the limitations of body worn cameras, and privacy considerations when recording. To pass the course, officers must successfully demonstrate the ability to record a video, and then properly tag and upload the video into the patrol car or desktop computer. Upon completion of deployment, over one third of the Department’s uniformed officers will be equipped with BWCs.
The new Body Worn Cameras, which will replace the 78 BWCs loaned to Corpus Christi Police by Nueces County under a 2014 Texas Domestic Violence grant, offer several significant advantages to the previous model. Video from the new BWCs can be uploaded directly into the Officer’s patrol car dash cam system, saving officers time at the end of shift and keeping them in the field longer to respond to calls. The new cameras also have a detachable remote camera to allow officers alternative mounting options, and infra-red lights for better recording performance in low light situations.