SMU police officers and squad cars are now equipped with body and in-car cameras. The University’s Department of Public Safety began using the devices in November, according to Chief of Police Rick Shafer.
The University chose L-3 Mobile-Vision to provide both hardware and support for the cameras. The SMU Police Department had been “working on it for the past six months,” Shafer says – researching vendors, observing a deployed system in action, and surveying neighboring police departments.
University Park, Highland Park and Dallas all use the same system chosen by SMU, Shafer adds.
All 32 officers have their own individual body cams, and all 6 patrol cars have a dedicated in-car cam. The cameras do not record continuously, Shafer says: “It’s up to the officer’s discretion when to record confrontations.”
SMU Police Department supervisors are the only individuals who can retrieve video, image and other data from the cameras and servers, Chief Shafer says. The only legal way footage from these cameras can be released to any individual is through an approved Texas Public Information Act request.