Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday unanimously approved District Attorney Devon Anderson’s plan to spend $1.9 million in seized assets to equip Houston police officers and Harris County sheriff’s deputies with body cameras.
County officials also said they would move toward giving about 700 deputy constables the same equipment, though the precise amount of funding has not been determined.
“If we’re going to go in this direction, which I think is a good direction to go, give all our patrolmen body cameras,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack said.
Radack asked county budget chief Bill Jackson to determine how much it would cost to equip some deputy constables with the cameras.
After the meeting, Radack predicted the cost would be relatively low, perhaps totaling $700,000 if each camera costs $1,000.
“If it costs $700,000, it’s a necessary expenditure,” Radack said.
Jackson, however, cautioned that the cost could go beyond the cameras, pointing out that back room technology would increase the total.
“You’re holding a telephone in your hand, but it has to connect to something,” Jackson explained. “That’s just a piece of it.”
If approved, funding for outfitting constable deputies with cameras would come from the county’s general fund.
See here for the background. Adding in the constables is a great move, as they’re the next biggest law enforcement group after HPD and the Sheriff’s office. I’ll be interested to see what the back office costs of this are, and of course what policies get put in place to manage the video data and allow access to it. But for now, the main thing is getting the cameras. Kudos to all for that.