Police Body Cams and the Early Adopter Tax

Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, wants to spend $11,000,000 to outfit APD officers with body cameras by 2016.  Meanwhile, the police believe they can start by 2017 with only $2,000,000 and then spend and additional $5,000,000 in maintenance over the next 5 years.

Why would it be so much more expensive to get the cameras one year early?  Currently, the price is high because supply can’t keep up with demand.  In a few years these, as production capabilities expand, these camera will be had at commodity prices.  If APD does it Mayor Adler’s way then the city will pay the “Early Adopter Tax” for new technology.  Body Cam prices are so high that the Dallas Police Chief joked about quitting and becoming a Body Cam salesman to make more money.

Whenever the cameras are deployed, I believe the videos they provide will make it easier to defend people accused of domestic violence.  Many law enforcement officers just can’t resist the urge to write reports that twist and/or embellish the truth.  I understand that police officers feel the need to justify a warrantless arrest, but do they really need to pretend that one person is evil incarnate and the other is an innocent flower?  The truth usually helps the defense in assault cases.

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