Body cameras are becoming increasingly popular with law enforcement agencies, and those in Denton County are no exception.
Precinct 1 Constable Jesse Flores’ office was the recipient of seven new Muvi brand high-definition cameras donated by Pro-Tow Wrecker Service of Lewisville on Tuesday.
“These will be outfitted on each deputy, including myself,” Flores said of the body cameras. “I am hoping they will help with security and in training.”
Flores said officers will immediately begin wearing the cameras while on patrol or making any kind of work-related stop.
Richard Douglass, marketer for Pro-Tow, said the company wanted to support Flores because the business is known for supporting area law enforcement and for being active in the community.
The camera donation he said, was approved by the Denton County Commissioners Court a month ago, and cost an estimated $189 per camera.
Drew Paschall, a Precinct 1 deputy with 25 years of experience in law enforcement, said the cameras could alleviate many situations that arise during a stop. He said that since the camera is attached to the officer, the audio and video is constantly on and running wherever the officer goes.
With a dashboard camera, once an officer gets out of range, the audio may no longer work properly and the officer can step outside the camera’s view.
“With these, you will always have that recording to use if you get into a sticky situation,” Paschall said of the body cameras.
David Fowler, a public safety representative for Pro-Tow, said that during his 33-year tenure with the Lewisville Police Department, he worked in many areas of the department, including internal affairs.
“If we had these [cameras] back then, some monthlong investigations would’ve only taken 15 minutes,” Fowler said.
Because of a racial profiling law, Pashchall said the audio and video will be kept on file at the constable’s office for at least 90 days.
How much longer after the 90 days, he said, depends on the case load and investigations.
“Some go on for months and years,” he said of the office’s pending cases.
Paschall said the cameras can also aid the district attorney’s office and capture still images during seizures for civil cases.
Officials said the cameras also will be beneficial for security measures.
“Should something, God-forbid, happen to one of my deputies, we would have the video to help aid in what actually happened,” Flores said.
One of the best things about the cameras, officials said, is that they will be able to use the videos for training purposes.
“What better way to train than critique yourself — you are your worst critic,” Paschall said.
Flores said the cameras should improve his deputies’ skills.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.