EPPD union it isn't opposed to body cameras; but feels money should be spent elsewhere
EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) —
Those who live in the neighborhood where this viral video was recorded told KFOX14 a lot of trouble happens near here, and it's usually caused by children.
"They're really bad kids. They stop traffic down on Alameda, too,” said Joel Cantu, a neighbor.
"I see them. Even in the store, they talk a lot of smack,” another neighbor said.
"There's a lot of things that happen at night,” said Cecilia Quinatnar, a neighbor. “I hardly see parents around."
These neighbors told us they want El Paso police to have body cameras in situations like the ones they described.
Ron Martin, the El Paso Police Department union president, said, "I don't want to lose men and women that can be police officers so we can buy cameras.”
Martin said the union and officers aren’t opposed to wearing the cameras. He said the issue with the cameras is the cost of the equipment and storage.
"Do you hire more officers or do you put that money into body cameras? The issue is: Yeah, there are certain grants for certain things that are out there that can help out (to) buy body cameras,” Martin said. “But, at the end of the day, the city still has to do a lot of figuring out how they're get(ting) the money for it."
A typical body camera is the same size as a smartphone. It goes on an officer's uniform and records everything that happens on duty. Martin said body cameras wouldn’t have changed what happened with the El Paso police officer pulling his gun on a group of children in the viral video.
But neighbors said the devices were needed to paint a full picture of what happened.
"It'll show you a lot more instead of little pieces, you know. And I think it would be great for them,” Cantu said.
"What happened in that situation, you know, if something bad happened now we know the whole story,” Quinatnar said.
Martin said some officers have their own personal body cameras. But it's department policy that officers can't use their own cameras while on duty.