Safety & Accident

Bid Delay Keeps Cameras out of Dozens of Dallas Police Cars

July 29, 2010

DALLAS - Dallas is rolling out about 60 new police cars without the dash-cam recorders that have played a pivotal role in holding officers accountable for how they do their jobs.

Almost a year ago, the city agreed to seek bids for new police car cameras, but an official said a police records project took precedence, according to the The Dallas Morning News.

The city isn't putting the recorders into the cars because it doesn't have any to install, officials said. About 60 new cars without cameras have been added to the patrol fleet, which now numbers about 845 cars. The number without cameras is expected to grow quickly because eight to 12 new cars are put into service each week.

The Police Department says the city's communications and information services department hasn't asked contractors for bids for new cameras despite a city decision to do so in August 2009. It could be months before new ones are installed.

Police have had technical problems with the type of camera system currently in many patrol cars since they were installed beginning in 2008, according to The Dallas Morning News. In August 2009, top city officials decided to stop buying the current type of cameras and seek bids for other camera systems. However, no request for bids has been issued because a records management system project took precedence.

Policing experts say dash-cam technology is a necessity rather than a luxury. Some officers have been cleared of misconduct because of evidence from the camera systems. Others have been proved to be engaged in criminal wrongdoing.

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