LEMITLEMIT debuted online courses for Texas law enforcement officers with a mandated primer on body worn cameras.
The Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) is developing online courses to address current trends and emerging issues in the field and to provide easy access to professional development opportunities for all certified peace officers in the state.
The first program, Body Worn Cameras, will debut in February and will assist agencies in developing policies and practices on the use of these new devices at the local level. Many law enforcement agencies are adopting the new technology to provide more transparency and to reduce allegations of misconduct against officers. The course will cover model policies on the use of body worn cameras; guidelines for the creation, deletion, and retention of recordings; protocols on public, media and employee access to the recordings; and issues to consider when using or purchasing the devices.
“Our primary goal is to make sure law enforcement officers get the legislatively mandated information on the role of the camera and to understand their agency’s policy,” said Andrea Hoke, Program Coordinator for the LEMIT course.
The program will be taught by Police Chief Sean Mannix of the Cedar Park Police Department, who served on the Body Worn Camera Curriculum Development Committee at the Texas Commission of Law Enforcement (TCOLE). Participants will earn two hours of TCOLE credit upon successful completion of the course. The cost of the program is $45.
This is the first LEMIT class to be delivered in an online environment, where officers can access the curriculum via the internet at their home or office. The course will be available online 24/7 and can be completed at the officer’s leisure.
"Online education is a great method to teach participants with limited resources and time,” said Rita Watkins, Executive Director of LEMIT. “I'm so pleased LEMIT launches its online course offerings with body worn camera training. This new offering helps police agencies fulfill a mandate with top caliber education in a virtual platform. We will continue to develop future online course offerings in order to educate and develop Texas peace officers."
The Texas Legislature passed a law requiring agencies using body worn cameras to develop policies and procedures on their use. Some of the mandates of the policy include:
- Providing guidelines on when an officer should or should not use the camera based on privacy concerns
- Developing provisions on the creation, retention and deletion of video and audio recordings
- Offering procedures for public or media access or officer or agency reviews of the recordings
- Creating documentation to handle malfunctions of the equipment
- Raising awareness that officers are not required to keep cameras activated during the entire shift
- Aligning policies with federal and Texas rules of evidence
In addition to dealing with policies and procedures, the session will assist officers in the operation and evaluations of body worn camera systems.
The Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas presents premier professional development programs for law enforcement agencies to advance 21st Century policing practices in Texas and beyond. The programs serve local and county law enforcement, school and college police, civil and criminal environmental enforcement officers, emergency managers, and others who protect and serve our communities.