Houma Police Seek New In-Car Cameras

HOUMA, LA (AP) — Officials say the outdated, often broken in-car cameras at the Houma Police Department could be replaced with newer technology.

         Todd Duplantis tells The Courier’s Bridget Mire he hopes to have the Terrebonne Parish Council vote on a proposal to buy Taser Axon Flex cameras, which can be mounted on multiple surfaces, including car dashboards. He said he's looking to initially purchase 50 cameras, valued at $599 each, for his patrol unit.

         The department has three or four in-car cameras that cost $6,000 to $6,500 each, Duplantis said. The cameras are kept on the dashboard and include a device mounted in the trunk.

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         "They seem to be frequently breaking and malfunctioning on us," he said. "You have to send them off to get repaired. Keeping up with the maintenance, it was just getting to be a problem. For the cost to fix them, you might as well buy a new one."

         Lt. Bobbie O'Bryan said Houma Police have used in-car cameras that stored videos on tapes, CDs and memory cards. Such storage devices would have to be removed and placed into evidence, and the video uploading process would take longer, he said.

         Duplantis said he plans to store videos on Taser's Evidence website, where officers already upload footage from their body cameras. Terrebonne Parish Councilman Greg Hood questioned the website's security, but Duplantis said he hasn't had any problems so far.

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         "Anybody that goes into this system is documented," he said. "There's a log."

         Hood also expressed concerns about storage costs. Subscription plans for Evidence run from $15 to $55 a month per user, but the cost could rise depending on the amount of video data stored.

         "There's more economical ways to do this," he said, such as keeping the videos on a disc.

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         Some dashboard cameras can also record inside a car, Hood said, whereas the Flex cameras would only film facing forward. Duplantis said officers would simply turn the cameras around if they needed to film inside the car.

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