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Coalition Urges HPD Dash Cams

 
Coalition Urges HPD Dash Cams
Posted Wednesday, January 15th 2014 @ 5am  by KTRH's Nik Rajkovic

Civil rights activists are pushing Houston City Council to equip more police cars with dashboard cameras.

Attorney Randall Kallinen and others say Houston lags far behind other cities when it comes to dashboard cameras -- just five percent of squad cars have them.

And a recent report says 121 police-related shootings went unrecorded between 2008 and 2012.

Its a crime solving tool, as well as a way to check on any improper police shootings so that tactics can be evaluated,” Kallinen tells KTRH News.

However, police union president Ray Hunt says as with most government purchases, it comes down to money.

We would not be opposed to having dash cam videos, but if its at the expense of funding more police officers or something more important, than no,” says Hunt.

Right now, city leaders are instead using federal grant dollars purchase cameras which attach directly to an officer's body.

The body cam captures anything the police officer is looking at,” said Mayor Annise Parker during Tuesday's committee hearing.  “The dashboard camera, the car has to be in the right place looking in the right direction and doesn't capture anything away from the vehicle.”

Kallinen argues the city fears litigation if dashboard cams captures police wrongdoing.

If there is an improper police shooting for example, or a bad chase through residential neighborhoods that could result possibly in liability,” says Kallinen.

Hunt strongly disagrees.

We have limited funds in our budget,” he says.  “We are severely lacking in police officers now, and we're not in favor of spending additional funds to capture the one or two incidents that Randall Kallinen is hoping to capture.”

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