Odessa Police seek OK to apply for grant to provide body cams to officers

Odessa Police seek OK to apply for grant to provide body cams to officers
Odessa Police Department. (Source: KWES)

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Odessa police is one step closer to fitting their officers with body cameras. On Tuesday, they went to City Hall to get the OK to apply for a grant.

Chief Tim Burton, of the Odessa Police Department said, "The purpose of this funding as well as the funding in the budget is to create that capability this year."

One of the grants asked by Burton to city council was for body cameras for the police. Stating it's the standard now for their profession, the department added it's a way to be transparent with the citizens of Odessa.

"The recording of that data serve to support the actions of the officers in terms of how they did their job as well as providing evidentiary information that was valuable in court later," said Burton.

Corporal Steve LeSueur, of the Odessa Police Department said, "We have audio recordings already along with our dash-cam footage which helps a lot but unfortunately the dash-cam footage faces forward."

Burton added there currently isn't a body camera program in the department but in the past few months they have been testing new equipment.

"We have an idea of what's out there and those parts we're interested and those we aren't," said Burton.

The grant for the equipment is $285,000, that along with the budgeted $285,000 the department set aside, if approved Mayor David Turner says won't affect the pockets of the citizens.

"This is basically free money and that's what they are applying for," said Turner.

Mayor Turner said an approval for the grant could take five or six months. Burton added if the time frame is correct then officers could start wearing body cameras in the fall.

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