The Frisco Police Department began piloting the use of body cameras last year and will be expanding their use this year, with a continuing incremental roll out as funding allows.
Among those using the cameras this year will be the School Resource Officers who are assigned to the eight high schools in the Frisco ISD. School officials say they welcome the additional tool to officers who work in the schools and help keep students safe.
“Students are already accustomed to security cameras in the commons areas of the building, so the use of these cameras will probably feel pretty standard to the student body,” said Doug Zambiasi, Assistant Superintendent of Support Services, who oversees the security department in FISD.
Lieutenant Bob Fortenberry of the Frisco PD states that the cameras will not be running all of the time. They will be activated by the SROs when they become engaged in an enforcement action or if a routine situation begins to escalate. Additionally, if an officer is conducting a criminal interview, he/she can activate the body camera just as they previously would have the audio recorders they wore.
“Our job in the schools is to build relationships and to be a part of creating a culture of trust, respect and safety in our schools and in the community,” Fortenberry stated. “The use of these body cameras, when necessary, is meant to enhance the safety, security and protection of all.” Protocols and training address appropriate uses and student privacy matters, he added.
School Resource Officers are employees of the police department, with salaries being a shared cost between the city and the school district. Officers in the middle schools will most likely wear the cameras at some point in the future.