After viewing Transparency, the KHOU docu-series on the Houston Police Department’s body-camera program, Mayor Sylvester Turner called it “a little hard on Houston” but said the city is “getting there” when it comes to improving the $8 million program.
Turner made the comments after announcing Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo as his choice to lead the Houston Police Department.
The KHOU docu-series reveals how Houston’s body-camera program has fallen short of its promise for transparency.
For six months, Houston police violated their policy by not auditing body-camera videos. Additionally, videos in more than 100 criminal cases never made it to court in time—HPD sent them to prosecutors after cases were closed. Houston police are also behind in releasing videos to the public, taking months to do so, while other cities turn around open records requests in days.
Turner said he plans to have a serious discussion about body cameras.
“We’ll look at what’s being done in other cities, across the state, across the country, so the policy remains under review,” Turner said.
Acevedo is a proponent of body cameras. He was instrumental in requiring Austin police to have automatic camera activation triggers. The department utilizes wireless technology to turn on body cameras whenever a patrol car is opened.
“Now that we have a new police chief in place, I'll certainly look to his advice, his wisdom, his counsel,” Turner said.
Photos: Voices in the body-camera debate