SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Police Department has started training officers to use body cameras.
The first officers to undergo training this week are 80 members of the Bike Patrol, who Police Chief William McManus said currently have no audio or video recording equipment while on duty.
"It is fairly lightweight, it's not cumbersome to wear, where you notice there is something on you at all times," Officer Marcus Trujillo, a KSAT 12 News traffic reporter, said of the camera.
While the camera is barely noticeable, the gadget is expected to have a huge impact in increasing officer accountability and decreasing the number of unsubstantiated complaints against the department.
"With everything that is going on in the country today, it's important that we document interactions police have with citizens and vice-versa," McManus said. "These cameras will change behaviors on both sides of the cameras."
For the camera to work, the officer will need to turn it on, unlike dash cameras, which automatically turn on when the officer activates the lights.
"That's part of the training, that you are required to turn these cameras on at the beginning of every call and at the beginning of every interaction with a citizen," McManus said.
McManus said officers will understand there will be consequences for not following protocol.
He said the cameras, which cost about $1,500 each, will be a part of every patrol officer's uniform within two years.
McManus said he hopes to launch the new initiative as early as next week.