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UPDATE: Midland Police Applies for Grant to Buy Body Cameras

Midland County applied for a grant that would fund the Midland Police Department to buy body cameras for its officers.
UPDATE: Midland County received a grant from Governor Rick Perry, which was awarded in the Commissioner's Court meeting on Monday, March 24.

Original Story:

Midland County recently applied for a grant that would fund the Midland Police Department to buy body cameras for its officers.

Governor Rick Perry’s office approached Midland County, offering a grant for up to $17,000, which would cover the expenses for more than 50 cameras.

“We were contacted by the governor's office to apply for this grant so that we could obtain body cameras for the Midland Police,” Midland County District Attorney Teresa J. Clingman said. “”It has just now been applied for, so we don’t know if we will get it or not.”

Midland Police officers are currently equipped with audio recorders. The recordings are attached to the police car video, but according to Sara Higgins, public information officer for the City of Midland, these recordings can be lost due to distance limitations.

“Logistically the range is a little bit limited,” Higgins said.

The new body video recordings would not have range limitations and would also be helpful in court.

“The information that is recorded by the body cameras can be extremely valuable to us as evidence,” Clingman said. “Because of the fact that sometimes witnesses will minimize the actual effects that a particular incident had on them.”

The new recordings will make it a lot easier to prosecute the cases, Clingman said.

City officials say after the approval, the city would need to set policies and procedures on how they will handle the body cameras.

“There is a lot to figure out once we find out whether or not we will actually be receiving the fund,” Higgins said.

Although there is no specific time on when the funds would be approved, Higgins said the process should not take long.

“Generally if we are being called it's sort of a last minute deal and it's going to be moving pretty fast so we expect to know fairly soon if we are going to have those funds,” Higgins said.

Once the grant is approved, the department is expected to find the most cost efficient and best quality cameras.

“I believe that the Midland Police Department is extremely excited about having those types of cameras for their officers,” Clingman said.

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