CORPUS CHRISTI — The Corpus Christi Police Department was still upgrading its video technology when new body cameras rolled out last month. On Tuesday, another upgrade as the city council has approved more than $1 million for in-car camera systems.
Every CCPD vehicle is getting a new camera. That’s because the department's current in-car camera system is showing its age.
“There's no more software updates, there's hardware that's going down,” said Deputy Chief Hollis Bowers. “Our camera people are doing all they can.”
When CCPD bought its current camera system in 2012, those cameras were only supposed to last five years. Now two years past that date, the department says it's time to upgrade.
But why wait two years past the expected life span? Simply put, the answer is money.
“It's nearly always a budget issue, and it's a major budget issue,” said Bowers. “The camera system we're going to is about a million and a half dollars.”
For that $1.5 million, the department is buying 180 Panasonic video recording systems. That's also how many Panasonic body cameras CCPD bought earlier this year, and these systems are designed to work together seamlessly.
“They'll talk to each other, so we'll have much more fluidity between the body cameras and the in-car system,” said Bowers.
Officers call in-car cameras invaluable, especially when dashcam video catches a suspect in the act. However, these cameras also keep officers accountable for their actions.
“It sort of keeps us honest, and it keeps the citizens honest, where they don't call in and make frivolous complaints,” said Bowers.
The department is also upgrading the cameras used to monitor suspects in the back seat. Three of the new camera systems are already in service, he rest should be installed by the end of the year.
CCPD says the new cameras are only going in cars and SUVs. Motorcycle officers will use their body camera as a dashcam.