Donation allows Jacksonville police to buy second camera system

Posted by Michael Hetrick

JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) - A frequent benefactor of the city's police department over the years, the Jacksonville Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association recently donated another $1,500 which will allow the local police to purchase a second forensic camera system.

Detective Travis Cearley of the Jacksonville Police Department said the new camera will be similar to the one currently being used by the department's criminal investigation division but will feature upgraded lenses.

"The new camera will have basically the same body as the one we currently have, and all the equipment that we already have will be interchangeable with the new one," Cearley said. "The new camera will also have enhanced photography capabilities which will now allow us to collect better impression evidence from tire and/or shoe impressions."

Police Chief Reece Daniel said the additional forensic camera system will now allow his detectives to process more than one crime scene at a time and will be available as a back-up should one of the cameras break-down.

According to Daniel, he has lost track of all the ways CPAAA has assisted his department over the years. Past contributions include $1,500 to purchase JPD's current forensic camera system, $3,000 to place laptop computers in the patrol cars and $1,000 to purchase several digital cameras.

"The CPA is invaluable to us, not only because of the monetary things that they do and the equipment they have been able to provide us with, but also because the time they donate saves us untold amounts of overtime at special events and things of that nature," he said.

The purchase order for CID's new camera was sent in Wednesday morning, and JPD expects to have it available for use in the next two to three weeks.

Cearley demonstrated several of JPD's crime scene investigation tools Tuesday night to the members of the current CPA class. The Citizens Police Academy is a 12-week class that meets for three hours every Tuesday night while in session.

Topics covered during the course include family violence/child abuse, criminal prosecution, evidence collection and the penal code - among several others. Various JPD officers and Cherokee County officials take turns teaching different aspects of the class.

"The purpose of the CID portion of the class is to let the students know some of the capabilities, as well as the limitations, of the techniques that are readily available to this department," Cearley said. "In the past it has also helped to dispel some of the 'CSI Effect' as far as separating what is possible in the real world from what is good for Hollywood television."

JPD's current CPA class is scheduled to graduate Sept. 15. The department typically holds two courses a year.

"All the funds for this new camera were raised by the members of the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association and it is not going to cost the city a dime - which is something I'm really excited about," Cearley said. "Their donations help out the police department a lot, which is really giving to the entire community because of how it helps us better serve Jacksonville."