DPD started outfitting a small group of it’s officers with body cams. It’s small, but it’s a start. 

Deputy Chief Andrew Acord said about 55 officers in the central patrol division — which includes downtown, Uptown, Deep Ellum, Old East Dallas and The Cedars — have been issued the cameras. The northeast patrol division will also get about 11 cameras.

The next sentence in that same paragraph caught my eye: 

Another eight officers who have multiple types of complaints against them will also get cameras, regardless of patrol division, Acord said.

Now that’s smart. I understand rolling out cameras within one division. It’s easier to manage the rollout and easier to monitor the successes and failures of the program. But outfitting – let’s face it – problem officers (at least officers with multiple accusations of being problems) with cameras is just plain smart. Bravo DPD!

Deputy Chief Accord says his officers are excited about the cameras and clamoring to wear them. That’s refreshing to hear, although it really shouldn’t be. I’ve never understood the backlash by some officers against video & audio recording (be it in-car/dash cams, body mics, or now body cams). More than ever many officers feel that segments of the public (or the really paranoid set seem to think it’s everyone) are out to get them. The Black Lives Matter movement and others like it unsettle them. This latest incident at Arby’s further galvanizes the “us vs them” mentality (that frankly has always existed). If that’s the way you feel, I’d think you’d REALLY want to wear a camera to prove you’re following the rules and doing the right thing… unless you know you’re not following the rules and not doing the right thing. I totally get that people will make up stuff against good officers (“he beat me up without provocation” or “he planted evidence on me…”). Body cams protect good officers from that just as much as they protect the public from bad officers. 

All in all, this is a good step in the right direction. Let’s hope the train keeps on the tracks and doesn’t get derailed.

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