Angelina deputies hope camera upgrade will speed up investigations

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lieutenant Jimmy York will now spend a lot less time reviewing police dash-cam video each week thanks to new digital video cameras.

"On the VHS tapes, if you want to find something you have to go through the whole thing and find it," Angelina County Sheriff Jimmy York. "These here, you can put it on a computer, click, and pretty much find what you're looking for."

So, no more searching through 120-minute VHS tapes to find one incident. The upgrade from analog to digital costs $5,000 per camera, per car.

"It's an extra set of eyes for us and if you're out there on a traffic stop and someone throws something out the window," Henson said. "We can go back there and review it and look at it and see whether they threw it out and we went back and actually recovered evidence and stuff like that."

Deputies say VHS tapes are getting tough to find, and the digital upgrade means less bulk in patrol trunks.

"They're easier to store, they're a lot smaller than what a VHS tape is and they're just so much easier to review and take care of," Sgt. Randy Ware said.

Another advantage is the old VHS tapes fill up, but once the new DVDs fill up, it starts recording on a hard drive which means more time to capture every incident.

"It'll help the supervisor to be able to review the tapes a lot quicker being that they're on discs," York said. "Any kind of evidence, type situation that's on that disc, we can pull it and review it immediately."

"It's going to show 10 different clips up there and it's going to give you a date and a time when each clip was and you can look at the clip and copy it to a DVD if you need to get it to the county attorney's office, DA's office," Ware said.

Which could speed up investigations, making "caught on tape," a thing of the past.

Henson says the county plans to buy two new digital camera systems every year, so all the patrol cars can be upgraded.

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