Police body cameras have been a hot issue over the last 12 months.

They protect the public.  They protect the officers.  And thanks to body cameras, unfortunate, tragic, and sometimes criminal acts on both sides of the law are viscerally burned in the public’s image.

Amarillo is a progressive thinking town.  You may have wondered why the Amarillo Police Department has yet to outfit the force with the latest law enforcement accessory.  Especially while several smaller High Plains cities have officers on the streets filming.

It comes down to cost.  With around 180 officers and recruits in the uniform division, the cost for outfitting the entire force is astronomical.  At the most recent city council meeting, Amarillo did make body cam progress.  At least a little.

A recent federal grant of nearly $55,000 has been assigned by the council to equip some officers and provided for the related equipment, including computers to store the footage and hardware upgrades for the next 5 years.  Unfortunately there aren’t nearly enough cameras for everybody and 169 members of the force will have to continue doing it the old way.

The 11 members of the force being assigned body cameras will be used by the motor division, because they interact with the public more frequently.  That’s a nice way of saying the cameras will most likely record the reactions of drivers getting traffic citations.

Well, downtown Amarillo wasn’t built in a day, either.