SAN ANTONIO – Hundreds of body cameras will soon be part of the uniform now that the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has ordered the next generation body cameras.
The new body cams will be worn by 300 sheriff deputies and will automatically work in tandem with the patrol vehicles dashcam.
"We're uploading video as its being recorded. We can do live video streaming from the body worn camera and we have a number of connections to switches inside the police car so we can automatically start body camera recording," said Utility Corp. CEO Robert McKeeman.
The body worn camera isn't just a camera. It's a modified Android smartphone. It'll take high definition pictures and won't have to be manually turned on and off like the cameras worn by San Antonio police officers.
"We have some police departments that their policy is once the officers gotten out of the car and started recording video the officer can’t stop the recording until they go back to the police car and turn off the light bar. That’s one policy choice," McKeeman said.
The policy will be installed by the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Susan Pamerleau talked about the benefits of the body cameras in an interview back in December.
"The experience we've had so far is it really makes people behave better on both side of the camera," Pamerleau said.
Deputies are expected to start using the cameras sometime between April and June.
"Our deputies are looking forward to this. Certainly we know there’s going to be some change, but there are a lot of issues that aren't thought about and that’s privacy issues," said Pamerleau.
The Sheriff's Office has not formally approved its policy for the cameras but they here are some situations where they are not required to record their activities.
- If they are communicating with the Sheriff’s Office or other official personnel
- If they are meeting with undercover employees, confidential informants or conducting undercover operations.
- If they're on break or if they're in places where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy including a restroom or locker rooms.