Dallas PD data: 18,000 videos remain uncategorized

Dallas City Council members received an update Tuesday afternoon about thousands of police body cam videos that were not properly categorized by the department.

A department audit late last year uncovered the issue with nearly 90,000 videos dating back to 2016. 

The audit released late last year uncovered the challenges that come with organizing and preserving millions of police body cam videos.

The audit found 89,000 videos were not properly categorized. And while that sounds like an enormous amount, it is 2% of the 3.8 million videos stored by the department since 2016. 

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72,000 of the unlabeled videos were from patrol responses, while 17,000 were from other police work.

The videos were supposed to be labeled by call type categories, like a call for service, incident or traffic stop. 

Since the audit, DPD leaders have been working to properly categorize the videos.            

The remaining number still needing to be labeled is now down to 18,000. That's equal to less than four days of video generated by the department. 

Chief David Garcia told council members that the department is now working to catch any issues early. 

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"We are letting commanders know when videos are untagged so we can fix them quickly," he said. "The example I gave staff is if you leave Dallas to New York and are a half mile off course, it is easier to fix it the closer you are to Dallas. The closer you get to New York, that’s quite a bit."

According to a memo, during the audit of unlabeled videos, a separate issue was discovered. 

Some labeled videos from 2016 through 2021 were deleted before being submitted with a criminal case as part of the department's then 90-day retention period. It was the minimum amount required by law. 

The department is working with District Attorney John Cruezot's Office to determine what, if any, impact there is to criminal cases.   

In 2021, the department expanded its retention schedule for videos categorized as investigative evidence. Those videos are now saved for at least two years to help detectives have time to build their case.