‘A great tool for law enforcement’: McLennan County Sheriff’s Office taking steps to add body cameras

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 5:29 PM CDT
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McLENNAN COUNTY, Texas (KWTX) -The McLennan County Sheriff’s Office is moving forward with plans to add body cameras, for the first time ever.

The sheriff’s office is currently just trying out some body cameras and is looking at applying for grants in January to purchase them for all of the deputies.

On Tuesday, the McLennan County Commissioners unanimously approved a plan for the sheriff’s office to test out the cameras.

Currently the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t use any body cameras, but the office does have dash cams for all of its patrol units.

”Our deputies have audio recorders on their persons, we just didn’t have the video part,” sheriff Parnell McNamara said.

Under this new agreement, the sheriff’s office will test out six Axon body cameras, all of which will go to patrol deputies. Sheriff McNamara said this has been in the works for two years now and the goal is for all deputies to eventually wear the cameras.

”It’s a great tool for law enforcement,” Sheriff McNamara said. “It’s a transparency tool. It helps our guys, helps our deputies and protects the public.”

Jeff Aguirre, who is currently challenging Sheriff McNamara for his position, echoed his sentiment.

”It’s instrumental in effective law enforcement,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre currently works for the McLennan County District Attorney’s office and said these cameras could help in the court of law.

“Body cameras capture images, they capture video, they capture statements that otherwise might be lost,” Aguirre said.

Sheriff McNamara added his office isn’t yet ruling out vendors besides Axon.

“There’s different ways that the different vendors will upload or store the material, so we’re looking at the best way for us to go,” Sheriff McNamara said.

This is all still in the very early stages, so the sheriff’s office is still working on fine tuning the details of everything. KWTX will continue to follow this story and provide any major developments.

KWTX also confirmed that Waco, Temple and Killeen police officers all use body cameras. The Bell County Sheriff’s office also uses them.