Live Oak Police upgrades to body camera system that allows real-time viewing

Assistant Police Chief says the upgrade is saving city close to quarter-million dollars

LIVE OAK, Texas – The Live Oak Police Department is upgrading its body camera system, which its assistant police chief says helps improve officer safety and transparency.

With just the click of a button or a quick pat on the chest, the new cameras capture whatever situation an officer is in.

“It’s a cellphone that has a holder that secures inside of the uniform,” explained Assistant Police Chief Michael Fratus.

He said the small lens embedded in the officer’s uniform creates a huge change.

“What’s the big difference between this new piece of equipment and the traditional bulky body camera that we’ve seen?” asked reporter Daniela Ibarra.

“It’s a lot more secure,” answered Fratus. “So whether an officer is running or they’re actually having a struggle with somebody, there’s no chance it’s going to fall off.”

Officers don’t have to activate the camera to start recording.

“When they get close to a call, it automatically turns on,” said Fratus. “If they start running, it’s going to automatically turn on.”

Cpl. Mark Perez wears the new camera daily and says it makes him feel secure.

“To turn on my lights, open my door, it’ll automatically activate so I don’t have to,” he said. “[In case] there’s danger in front of me, I don’t have time to — you know, I got to reach for my gun or whatnot. It automatically turns on.”

The body camera system connects to dash cameras in patrol units, and Fratus said department officials watch what’s going on live.

“We want to be very time-sensitive when we need to answer back to the community and answer back to our elected officials,” he said. “And so being able to do that in almost real-time is extremely valuable.”

While valuable, Fratus said the new system has saved the city about a quarter of a million dollars.

“It’s more about capturing video,” he said. “It’s about being there for your officers. It’s about being completely transparent with the community.”

About the Authors

Daniela Ibarra joined the KSAT News team in July 2023. This isn’t her first time in the KSAT newsroom– the San Antonio native spent the summer of 2017 as an intern. Daniela is a proud Mean Green alum, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.

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