Brazos County Sheriff's Office Now Using 40 Body Cameras For Deputies

BRYAN, Texas Caught on camera has a new meaning for some local law enforcement officers on patrol.

Brazos County Sheriff's Deputies are now equipped with body cameras when they go out on patrol.

News 3' looks at how the cameras are being used for evidence, and also to protect officers.

There's a new tool for Brazos County Sheriff's Deputies.

They'll now be wearing a body camera when on patrol.

Video shows how they work.

Josh Hearen is a Civil Service Deputy Sheriff for Brazos County and started wearing this light weight camera more than two months ago.

"Blends in. I don't notice it. I forget it's there and I use it regularly. I depend on it," he said

The Sheriff's Office has been working with Panasonic since 2006 spending about $12,000 a year in grant money to add state-of-the-art cameras in their patrol cars and now 40 body cameras.

They demonstrated how the system is all connected together with a simulated traffic stop where I was the suspect.

"If you will place your hands behind your back," said Hearen.

As you can see the body camera combined with patrol cameras provide hard evidence for prosecutors and capture the officer's actions.

The Sheriff's Office can take a live look at what the patrol car cameras are capturing at any time and the patrol vehicles automatically transmit their video to the building when they drive back in.

Body camera video has to be manually uploaded.

Sheriff Chris Kirk says none of his deputies see it as a privacy problem but as a tool.

"We've actually used it in a couple instances where citizens had made complaints against the deputy and we were able to show that those complaints weren't founded just by looking at the video and the audio," he said.

"I think it'll improve officer safety. I've already noticed people in the community notice the camera and ask about it. Some of our regulars that we deal with obviously have noticed it," said Josh Hearen.

The Texas A&M University Police Department has been using the body cameras for about three years.

The Fort Worth Police Department plans to be using more than 600 body cameras within the next year and a half.

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