Plans to give APD body cameras on hold

Plans to equip Austin police officers with body cameras are being put on hold after city council voted to postpone the vote to next month.

There have been talks for APD to become equipped with body cameras for a while now. The chance to give the okay, was Thursday, but that didn't happen. Council voted to postpone the item to June 9. Councilman Don Zimmerman already knows what his vote will be.

“Oh I'm voting against, absolutely,” Zimmerman said.

He feels the police department has not sat down with council and explained policies thorough enough.

“They're going to set their own policy, and spend our money. The only purpose of Austin city council is to rubber stamp the decisions of APD,” Zimmerman sarcastically said.

The contract would be with the company called Taser International. It would total $12 .2 million. Also on the table is a $5 million contract for smart phones to quote "enhance functionality of body worn cameras."

“About five years ago I made a prediction and that prediction was in five years most major city police departments in this country would be deployed with body worn cameras I think it's turned out to be accurate,” Chief Art Acevedo said.

Acevedo says he is frustrated that council did not make any moves on the item Thursday. Some citizens, along with other council members expressed their concerns about the policy, hence why they voted to address it later.

“The policy is driven by one thing and that's state law, we have to follow state law regardless of what our personal opinions are,” Acevedo said.

On May 23, council will hold a public safety committee meeting, they plan to have a deeper discussion about the contracts at that time.

“The Austin Police Department claims the unilateral authority to set their policy and spend our money,” Zimmerman said.

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