Austin Police Department rolling out 736 body cameras

APD's east substation is now equipped with a charging room for brand new AXON body cameras.

"All they have to do is double tap this front button.  When they power their camera on they turn on the top slide button there's a series of indicator lights to let them know whether that camera is on," said Austin Police Commander Brent Dupre.

Interim Chief Brian Manley says they're rolling out 736 cameras the first year. 198 officers at the east substation will be the first to get them. 

Training and testing is happening now, the cameras will go live next week.
               
As FOX 7 has reported in the past some Austin police officers have their own body cameras. 

Once they get issued one of the new cameras they won't be able to use their own anymore.
               
Manley says there's policy in place about where the cameras are worn, how they're used and when they're used. "We did not want an officer to have to make that decision in the moment to turn on their camera and lose seconds as they get out of the car to approach a situation," Manley said.

Chief Manley says they don't want to miss something. He says the cameras do turn on when officers open the patrol car door but they're training officers to turn them on themselves. 

Manley says officers will have to let people know they're being recorded -- unless that can't be done safely. 

There are some situations where policy will allow an officer to turn the camera off.

"If you're interacting with an individual who has been the victim or a witness of an event and they are reluctant to cooperate if they are being reported, we will allow for that officer if they cannot gain compliance and cooperation from the individual to at least shut down the video portion if not both," Manley said.

Interim Chief Manley says with all of this new video, they are expecting additional open records requests so they're preparing for that.
               
Manley says they'll keep all video for 181 days.
               
The east substation is getting the cameras first. The downtown headquarters is getting equipped in November and the south substation in December.

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