Should Tomball Police Wear Body Cams? What We Can Learn From Ferguson

Do you think body cameras are a good idea for Tomball’s law enforcement officers? Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia thinks so, and we at The Pink Armadillo have to agree. Video evidence could go a long way in protecting both citizens and the police officers themselves. Who here wants to be the next Ferguson? The more transparency and accountability the better.

Bryan Kirk reports: In January, Garcia unveiled the body cam pilot program, a high-tech initiative designed to keep the public and law enforcement safer. The Harris County program was launched in the wake of District Attorney Devon Anderson’s announcement in December that her office will use $1.9 million in asset forfeiture funds to equip the sheriff’s office and the Houston Police Department with body-worn cameras.

“There are many positives (to this program). Obviously, transparency is a concern for the public, (and) people want to know they can trust us,” said Sgt. Thomas Diaz, who administers the program for the sheriff’s office, which will equip 900 deputies with body cams before the end of 2015.

Diaz said the department will begin seeking bids, but that right now the department is researching the legal ramifications in the use of body cams, and the testing and evaluation phase that will happen when the department eventually begins evaluating the equipment. Tidwell said the Tomball Police Department already has the software to support the cameras. In order to outfit the entire department of 50 officers it will cost the city about $40,000.

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