Saturday, September 23, 2023

The Southlake Police Department Begins Using Body Cameras

Southlake Police Officers have begun using 20 new body cameras while they are patrolling Southlake’s neighborhoods and business districts.

Police Worn Body Cameras

Police Worn Body Cameras

“This is in keeping with our mission to achieve the highest standards of safety and security for the people we serve, while being as transparent and accountable as possible,” said Police Chief James Brandon.

Beginning January 8, the officers will be outfitted with the latest technology in body cameras in conjunction with 26 new dash cams. The new system (purchased from Watchguard) will enable officers to record high quality video and audio during situations in which law enforcement action may be taken.

Chief Brandon adds, “We have worked to ensure that our employees understand how to properly utilize the system in order to accurately record events whether it’s a routine traffic stop or an event where officers are engaged in a dangerous situation. It offers the police officer’s perspective in a way that wasn’t previously available and will improve evidence collection in criminal cases.”

The body cams will be issued to Southlake’s Patrol Officers only. None of the City’s School Resource Officers will have the new cameras.

Video demonstration of New Body Worn Cameras 

Body Worn Cameras
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What training did Southlake Police Officers undergo prior to the implementation of the body worn camera project?

A: All Southlake officers were required to attend a mandatory training session which provided instruction on department policy and guidelines for use of the body worn cameras, as well as instruction on the technical use, management and care of the body worn camera equipment and associated recordings.

Q: In what circumstances will officers record with a body worn camera?
A: Officers will activate their body worn cameras for law enforcement purposes. Examples of this

include, but are not limited to:

  1. Traffic stops;
  2. Investigative contacts;
  3. Domestic disputes and other calls for service involving crimes against persons;
  4. Arrests and the transport of prisoners;
  5. Circumstances involving the confiscation of evidence or contraband where recording could be useful for prosecution; and
  6. Any time an officer believes the event needs to be recorded.

Q: Can an officer choose not to record an incident or discontinue recording during an incident?

A: Pursuant to Section 1701.657 of the Texas Occupations Code, an officer may choose not to activate a body worn camera or may choose to discontinue a body worn camera recording currently in progress for any non-confrontational encounter with a person, including an interview of a witness or victim. If an officer feels that he or she needs to discontinue a body worn camera recording, the officer must document the reasons why in writing to a supervisor.

Q: Does the public have access to view or receive copies of body worn camera recordings?

A: A member of the public may request access to view or receive a copy of a body worn camera recording, but they must submit a written request to the law enforcement agency, which provides the following information:

  1. The date and approximate time of the recording;
  2. The specific location where the recording occurred; and
  3. The name of one or more persons known to be a subject of the recording.

Requests for access to body worn camera recordings will be processed in accordance with the Texas Public Information Act and the Texas Occupations Code. This means that, in some instances, the recordings and their content may be considered confidential by law. If something is deemed confidential by law, the law enforcement agency is prohibited, by law, from releasing the information to the public.

Q: How long does the Department have to respond to a public information request for body worn camera recordings?

A: The Department must respond to the requestor no later than the 20th business day after the Department’s written receipt of the request.

Q: What funding source did the Southlake Police Department utilize to purchase the body worn cameras?

A: The Southlake Police Department purchased the body worn cameras utilizing approved funds from the Crime Control and Prevention District. In addition, the Department used these funds to upgrade its outdated mobile in-car camera system, which integrates with the body worn cameras.

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