Since last August TMs officer involved shooting in Ferguson, Missouri rocked the nation, the public’s eye has focused on our nation’s police force.
But one Rio Grande Valley police department was capturing video well before the public began asking for it.
It’s been nearly a year since the San Juan Police Department bought its first officer body cameras.
San Juan Police Sgt. Rolando Garcia says it TMs all about transparency.
“We had always wanted to have some sort of accountability for our officers,” Garcia said.
Today the department has enough cameras for every officer, all of which were paid for through grants and asset forfeiture money.
“It TMs all free to the taxpayers,” Garcia said.
If you have a run in with the law in San Juan you will be recorded.
Every San Juan police officer is required to wear one of the cameras on their chest every time they come into contact with the public to capture both video and their audio conversation.
As long as officers are doing the right thing, Garcia said it will show on their video camera.
“We want to make sure we have a clear documentation of what occurred with the contact and that way we can either take disciplinary action or reward the officer and in a lot of cases you catch good deeds and good police work on these cameras,” Garcia said.
An unbiased view, the video recordings hold their officers accountable, providing indisputable evidence every time a complaint is made against an officer, Garcia said.
“Everything that we do is going to be documented. A lot of the times a lot of the complaints end up dying in the lobby because they find out there is some kind of documentation and they are like, ~wait there is some kind of recording,’ and they say, ~I don’t want to file any complaint. TM”
Next time a San Juan officer pulls you over, remember to smile because you are being recorded.
Most police departments in the Rio Grande Valley do not utilize body cameras.
Weslaco Police however said they have applied for a Homeland Security grant to secure funding for their department to purchase cameras.