EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) — Body-worn cameras will now be a part of more El Paso Police Department officers’ uniforms.
This comes after the City Council unanimously approved $6.6 million to purchase 792 body cams and 410 mobile video recorders last March.
“I felt like it was essential El Paso police dept to be fitted with body cameras," said Henry Rivera, City Council member. “I didn’t want our community to lose trust in our officers.”
Rivera has been a vocal advocate of body-worn cameras.
“I have been working on this for several years and so I am ecstatic that they are," said Rivera. "I believe the department will only get better with these cameras."
The El Paso Police Department said it started receiving the cameras in Sept.
The cameras will be issued to patrol and traffic officers.
"Rightfully so, they are the ones that have the most encounter with the public on an everyday basis. Every part of the job is in some sort of contact with the public," said Rivera.
The Pebble Hills Regional Command Center was the first to receive the cameras. The police department said 123 officers are now wearing them and they were trained on how to use them in Jan.
After training, policy writing and software implementation the Pebble Hills Regional Command was selected as the first Command Center to receive the cameras. Starting in mid-January through the beginning of February 2023, 123 Officers have been trained and issued a body worn camera. All of these cameras are functional and are being utilized in their patrol/traffic capacity.
Below is the scheduled deployment for the body cameras:
There are several small units that will be scheduled between Feb. and May so that full deployment will be completed by the end of May.
Rivera and people in the community said having the cameras could help build relationships between the community and the department.
“It builds a better trust between the community and the officers that serve this community. Makes our department that is already the best that much better," said Rivera.
“There will be more clarity in whatever they do," said Marina Chavira.
“I’m for the police, but I do know that at times there are some bad apples and those guys need to be held accountable and I think this will help out," said Orlando Sapien.
Rivera said the department will continue to look for grants so they can keep using the cameras in the future.
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