Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,500,001)
The City of Houston Police Department (HPD) seeks funding to expand our existing body worn camera (BWC) program. HPD’s program continues to evolve as we receive ongoing input from officers, community stakeholders and criminal justice partners. Since the beginning of our program in 2014, it has proven cost prohibitive to equip every officer with a dedicated BWC. Currently, HPD has approximately 5,300 classified peace officers serving a city of over 2.3 million people. HPD has approximately 3,000 BWCs. This number of cameras has worked with officers sharing BWCs through a kiosk checkout process. However, in instances where there are more officers in the field than cameras in inventory, the logistics of strategically deploying cameras is an awesome task for our commanders and technology personnel.
Our primary objective for this funding is to expand our camera inventory to equip every officer with a dedicated BWC. To ensure the highest levels of transparency and accountability, we must be in the best position to also ensure that every encounter is captured on BWC. We must fully outfit the department and continue to pursue funding opportunities that move us closer to this goal. The expected number of cameras to be purchased as part of this grant program is 2,420. Acquisition of additional cameras under this grant will allow HPD to deploy cameras within our existing program structure, but with technology, that has greater capabilities in the field as well as in the back-end stages of video evidence management, thereby improving transparency, accountability, and officer safety.