“Transparency,” a four-month investigation into the Houston Police Department’s body camera program, won the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.
The digital docu-series, produced by the KHOU Iris team—consisting of Jeremy Rogalski, Keith Tomshe, Stephanie Kuzydym, Ty Scholes, and myself—was one of 13 projects nationwide to win the annual award, which is considered the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.
“Transparency” looked into HPD’s $8 million program, the first of its kind in Houston. During its implementation, city and county leaders, including Mayor Sylvester Turner and then-Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, promised the cameras would increase transparency between police and public. But when a man lay dying in the middle of a street at the hands of Houston police, there was no body camera footage that captured the shooting. What ensued were protests, outrage and community activists calling out city and county leaders, some of whom predicted that rushing the program through would lead to such incidents.
The story is worth your time, especially as more departments across the nation move to add cameras to their officers.