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Rep.Jetton, Jacey

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Representative Jacey Jetton's Body Camera Bill Passes Out of Committee 
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by: Rep. Jetton, Jacey
04/23/2021

AUSTIN – State Representative Jacey Jetton announces his Body Worn Camera Bill passed unanimously out of the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee. House Bill 1938 establishes a grant to defray the cost of body camera recording storage, allowing body worn cameras to be more widely implemented by Texas law enforcement agencies.

“This week, Speaker Phelan and Speaker Pro Tem Moody introduced the first component of Smarter Justice, Safer Texas, the House's bipartisan criminal justice reform package,” Jetton said. “I am proud House Bill 1938 was highlighted in this package as a bill taking steps towards Restoring Public Trust. HB 1938 will do so by further enabling the use of body worn cameras. Good law enforcement agencies understand body worn cameras provide accountability, transparency, and an unbiased account of events. Advocates of policing reform also support body worn cameras for the same reasons: accountability, transparency, and an unbiased account of events."

While many law enforcement agencies support the use of body worn cameras, the costs of implementing a program can be prohibitively high. There are many grants and resources for the body worn cameras themselves, but the cost of storing the footage is significant. A recent report advised the annual cost for data storage could be as high as $4million for a large department, with a median cost of nearly $30,000 for large departments. This cost can fluctuate significantly depending on how long the records are kept and how often officers have their cameras on.

House Bill 1938 creates a grant specifically to defray the cost of data storage, for which any law enforcement agency can apply. Jetton filed an amendment to the House budget to help fund this grant if HB 1938 is enacted. HB 1938 passed unanimously out of committee and is now headed to the Calendars Committee before consideration on the House floor. Jetton's bill is Joint Authored by Rep. Carl Sherman and Coauthored by Reps. David Cook, Ron Reynolds, and Cody Vasut.

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