New body camera law will standardize law enforcement operations statewide
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – September 1 “Bo’s lawCame into effect in Texas. The law is named after Botham Jean, who was killed in his apartment in 2018 by policewoman Amber Guyger.
Part of the law will require police officers statewide to have their body cameras on at all times when conducting an investigation. For some local agencies, like the Bishop Police Department, the law will not change how the department operates, as officers were already required to wear body cameras.
“Our policy and procedure will remain the same as they always have been. This new law does not change anything at our agency. I think what it is doing is streamlining, now that it is legislation at all levels, where all agencies will have the same guidelines, instead of referring to their own policies and procedures, ”Bishop Police Chief Edward Day said.
Day said BPD has had a body camera policy for about four years. He also said body cameras are useful for officers because they act as “an extra pair of eyes.”
“When you show up in front of a courtroom with a jury, they can actually see what the officer was seeing, not just the officer’s testimony, but now you have a first-hand account of it. that actually happened at the scene. So it helps prosecute cases, it helps reduce complaints from agents, if someone knows they are registered they are less likely to say something has happened that hasn’t actually happened the low. Or, if a charge is laid, investigators in the department can refer to that officer’s body camera and actually see what happened, ”he said.
Day said body cameras are a must these days. He also said that while the wording of the law is broad as to what an investigation is, officers will need to have body cameras for a lot of the things they do.
“Everything an officer does when acting in his capacity as a peace officer is not consensual, which can lead to criminal charges, it will be investigated,” he said. -he declares.
During the year, BPD used body cameras, Day said they were viewed positively by his officers.
“Overall it’s an advantage, I haven’t personally seen any officer discouraged from using body cameras. I think it helps them, it protects them, it allows them to do their job better and it makes it easier to prosecute, ”he said.