Laredo ISD police adding Reveal body cameras to uniforms
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The Laredo ISD Police Department, Texas, have equipped their officers with Reveal RS2-X2 body cameras and are anticipated to have a positive impact. The cameras, purchased through a grant from the Department of Justice, are slightly bigger than a pager and will be implemented at all campuses.
Training Coordinator Officer Erik Villarreal said about 36 officers will be equipped with body cameras and the purpose of the cameras, he said, is to establish positive community relations and improve transparency.
"Anytime that the officer is being called on and they're requesting for assistance, we automatically turn on the cameras for those situations," Villarreal said. "It doesn't matter if it's at an elementary all the way to high school or even certain offices — everything is going to be recorded with the officer because they're requesting a service call for a police officer.
"We're trying to build the transparency with law enforcement, with our police department, and with the public."
LISD Police Chief Roberto Villarreal also noted that students are more likely to behave when they know they're being filmed. The front-facing screen on the Reveal body camera acts as a mirror and lets people see themselves as they are being recorded, which can have a powerful deterring effect.
More benefits from the usage of body cameras are found in its functions. During Friday's training session, officers learned to keep their cameras on a pre-event buffer mode. The ready-to-record function adds extra context and information to an incident by capturing the 30 seconds before an officer has initiated filming.
Another feature allows officers to playback videos in order to ensure the accuracy of reports and interviews, though this is a feature that LISD requires and can be turned off for other departments. All videos are stored on a server within the district and the activity of every video is tracked through Reveal’s digital evidence management system DEMS.
As customized in the software, officers only have access to footage recorded by their designated camera. However, they have the capability to share the footage with another officer relevant to an incident. Videos are kept for a minimum of 90 days, but certain footage marked as evidence can be saved for longer. Depending on the custom classifications created by LISD in the software, videos can be saved anywhere from six months to 10 years.
"We're using our technology to the best benefit of everybody," Villarreal concluded.