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Austin Police Will Be Testing Wearable Cameras

Austin police officers will be testing four types of wearable cameras that will record video and audio during incidents.
Photo by mn_francis
Austin police officers will be testing four types of wearable cameras that will record video and audio during incidents.

The Austin Police Department announced today that its officers will begin testing four different wearable video cameras that can be activated by the cop when he or she is encountering a suspect. The police force has been stepping up its video recording capabilities ever since an officer killed a teenager in 2009 and failed to capture the shooting on his VHS-based dashboard camera.

In the early morning hours of May 11, 2009, APD Officer Leonardo Quintana shot and killed 18-year-old Nathaniel Sanders in the parking lot of Walnut Creek Apartments at 6409 Springdale Road in northeast Austin.  

One police dash cam was on during the incident when 18-year-old Nathaniel Sanders was shot and killed in northeast Austin in May 2009, but two dash cams were not activated, including the one in Quintana's patrol car.

Quintana claimed he acted in self defense when he pulled the trigger, but a lack of video evidence left some people unconvinced that the shooting was justified. A Travis County grand jury declined to indict Quintana for the shooting.

Last summer, the Austin police department began installing new digital dashboard cameras in patrol cars. All vehicles are set to be outfitted with them by Spring of 2012. 

The testing begin this weekend, according to APD Officer Michael Schultheis.  Police who patrol the downtown area on foot will be equipped with the on-body camera equipment just in time for this weekend's Texas Relays.

Now APD is taking it a step further by testing these four wearable camera systems. Here are links to the manufacturers and videos, where we could find them.

CopVu from Watch Guard


FirstVu from Digital Ally

Taser Axon

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
Ian Crawford joined KUT as News Editor in 2008, after spending over four years as a reporter/anchor at KLBJ Radio in Austin. He began his broadcasting career while still in high school in Southern Oregon. During high school and college at the University of Oregon, he worked at times as a reporter, news anchor, sports play-by-play reporter, music host and commercial producer before moving to Texas in 2003.
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