Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia is now requiring all police officers to wear body-worn cameras at all off-duty jobs they work. WFAA reports that the memo was sent to all police department employees on Monday. Garcia says he is starting this because he wants to be transparent and aid in fair prosecution.
Garcia's decision came after an off-duty police officer, Keenan Blair was not wearing a body-worn camera when he shot at a vehicle following a weekend shooting. Blair and another officer were also working an off-duty job in Bishop Arts district when an argument and shooting broke out at the 216 Lounge. WFAA says three people were hurt in the initial shooting, although Blair's shots did not hit anyone. The officer with Blair also did not have a body camera.
According to WFAA, officers have the option to work off-duty jobs, outside normal shifts, but they have to be approved by their supervisor. Garcia told officers that they are responsible for charging their cameras after every shift, not any different than charging the department issued radio and flashlight.
Originally officers were given the option of wearing body cameras, but that all changed with Garcia's memo. Officers also must download all video from their cameras by their next shift. According to WFAA, not all Dallas PD officers had body cameras at the beginning, but as the city worked to increase the department's supply, most officers now have body cameras. Dallas Police Association Union President Mike Mata told WFAA, that he approves of Garcia's policy change, and that it wasn't instituted earlier because there was not enough body cameras for every officer.