SANANTONIO -- Body cameras for officers are being touted as the next wave in policing.

Austin police are trying body cams for the first time this weekend. The idea is to capture a video record of incidences and take some of the guesswork out of investigations.

For years, law enforcement has relied on dash cams to record what happens when officers step out of their vehicles. Now, that technology is being upgraded to the next level in the form of body cams police officers can wear.

When the crowd gets rough and a confrontation is imminent, officers can flip a switch and record what s actually happening.

So specific little details that you may or may not remember after the fact, you ll be able to review your video and say okay, this is exactly what transpired during the event, explained Austin police officer Michael Schultheis.

At a press conference in Austin on Wednesday, April 6, 2011, police announced they ll be testing nine different systems over the next 30 to 60 days with officers in their downtown area.

It s a system that could even help protect officers from false allegations of misconduct.

Once we have these systems in place in the next few years, it will have evidence that will either prove or help disprove any allegations, said Austin s police chief Art Acevedo.

The individual body cams aren t cheap, ranging in price from $800 to $3600 per unit. As the technology becomes more common, the cost will probably come down substantially.

Beyond legal issues, the videos will also be useful in training future lawmen, showing them real-life scenarios where police officers handled a situation well or poorly.
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