Odessa Police Department will receive cameras for family violence cases

Odessa Police Department will receive cameras for family violence cases

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - The Odessa Police Department will receive new handheld cameras to film victims in domestic violence cases.

Officers were trained in how to use the cameras by Comal County officials.

"The saying goes, 'A picture's worth a thousand words," said Criminal District Attorney Jennifer Tharp of Comal County. "These cameras document all of that."

The small handheld cameras, which law enforcement officers have been using in Comal County since October of last year, are becoming more of a success in domestic violence cases. Now, they're making their way to the Odessa Police Department.

"These cases are very difficult," said Tharp. "As a prosecutor, it's really helpful for me to know the entirety of the abuse that is going on in that relationship. It gives me a better idea of how to charge the offense."

She said documenting evidence after an officer leaves a scene can be hard, especially when it comes to prosecuting a defendant in a domestic violence case.

Detective Rebekah Good with the Comal County Sheriff's Department said since the cameras were used, she's noticed victims have given better detail speaking on camera than writing statements. This makes it easier for when officials write a police report.

"Some of the things that we would see whenever we would write the statements is that they were brief and didn't really have much detail about what happened because they were upset," said Good. "It's difficult sometimes for people to write things, especially if they just went through something traumatic."

But victims can easily retell a traumatic event with just a push of a button.

"They take these cameras on scene and do the interview that night, that day, so it's pretty immediate to the incident happening," said Tharp.

The cameras were received through a grant through the governor's office along with the Texas Council and Family Violence. Tharp said it was at no cost and hopes this will provide better service to Odessa.

"I'm excited for our profession," said Tharp. "I'm excited that it's another tool we can utilize to better protect our community."

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