AUSTIN (KXAN) - Body cameras could soon be worn by Austin police officers to help capture video and audio evidence.
The cameras are growing more popular with departments across the country and Chief Art Acevedo believes they will be the status quo one day.
"I believe the body cameras are the next wave in law enforcement," said Acevedo at a demonstration on Wednesday.
Similar to a dashboard camera, the body devices can quickly start recording when officers are responding to an incident. The video and audio from the incident can be uploaded and later used for review or prosecution.
Nine different models from four different makers are being tested. The makers being considered are:
The VieVu website also features video examples of how the cameras have been used.
The units being tested by APD officers cost between $800-$3500.
Nine different officers will each wear one of the models during a 30-60 day test period starting on Friday. The cameras will be worn by officers on foot in the downtown area.
Acevedo believes the body-worn cameras will help provide evidence, accountability, and transparency.
"We want to be able to fill in the blanks and capture the entire incident in the future," said Acevedo. "From what led to the contact, to what happened in the contact, to after contact."
Austin NAACP president Nelson Linder and Jim Harrington with the Texas Civil Rights Project also attended the demonstration.
Harrington has filed many lawsuits in the past concerning officer misconduct and thinks the cameras will help.
"It is light years better than where we have been and it is a credit to APD for doing this," said Harrington.
Linder agreed but says the cameras will only be helpful if officers are acting responsibly.
"We are addressing accountability and transparency, but there is no substitute for good policing," said Linder. "We have to emphasize that."
Acevedo could not give a timetable as to when the department would use the cameras permanently, but says he prefers to wait until the technology gets better and price drops. The chief did add he believes all officers at all major departments will be wearing cameras in the next five to seven years.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg heads to court this week as a defendant in a civil trial that could oust her from office.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside a vehicle after the child's family was involved in a fender bender, DPS said.
Austin Police confirm they have located an 82-year-old women who went missing last night.
APD is responding to a 25 vehicle accident near the 5400 block of Ed Bluestein near Thurgood Ave.
A man is dead after being hit by several vehicles in the eastbound lane of Highway 71 Saturday night.