A four-month investigation by KHOU into Houston’s police body-cameras found that the $8 million program isn’t delivering the transparency it promised.
The program has led to confusion and frustration between police and prosecutors, according to emails obtained by the station. Officials in Harris County, Texas found 729 criminal cases that lacked body camera footage – even though offers were assigned to wear them. And when video does exist, prosecutors might not get it until after a case is closed.
The station also tested the public’s right to view body camera footage. KHOU requested body-camera videos from 75 Houston Police Department cases involving potential misconduct and use of force. The department released footage for eight. None of those videos fully followed Houston’s body-camera policy.