CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — On Sept. 1, “Bo’s Law” went into impact in Texas. The legislation is called after Botham Jean, who was killed in his house in 2018 by off-duty police officer Amber Guyger.
A part of the legislation would require law enforcement officials throughout the state to have their physique cameras on always when conducting an investigation. For some native companies, like Bishop Police Division, the legislation won’t change how the division operates, as officers have been already required to put on physique cameras.
“Our coverage and process goes to stay the identical because it’s all the time been. This new legislation doesn’t change something with our company. I feel what it does do is streamlines, now that it’s laws throughout the board, to the place all companies are going to have the identical tips, as a substitute of referring to their very own insurance policies and procedures,” mentioned Bishop Police Chief Edward Day.
Day mentioned BPD has had a physique digital camera coverage for round 4 years. He additionally mentioned physique cameras are useful for officers, as they act as an ‘additional set of eyes.’
“Whenever you go in entrance of a courtroom with a jury, they will really see what the officer was seeing, it’s not simply the officer’s testimony, however now you could have a first-hand account of what really occurred on the scene. So, it helps with prosecution of circumstances, it helps decrease officer complaints, if any person is aware of they’re being recorded, they’re much less prone to say one thing occurred that didn’t really happen on the market. Or, if an accusation is made, investigators inside the division can check with that officer’s physique cam and really see what occurred,” he mentioned.
Day mentioned physique cameras are a should in right now’s day and age. He additionally mentioned, whereas the wording within the legislation is broad as to what an investigation is, officers must have physique cameras on for lots of issues they do.
“Something that an officer is doing the place they’re performing of their capability as a peace officer, that’s non-consensual, that will end in legal prices, that’s going to be an investigation,” he mentioned.
Within the 12 months’s BPD has used physique cameras, Day mentioned the have been considered positively by his officers.
“Total, it’s a profit, I haven’t seen any officers, personally, which can be discouraged from utilizing physique cameras. I feel it helps them, it protects them, it permits them to do their jobs higher, and it helps with prosecutions,” he mentioned.