AUSTIN — AUSTIN -- Each day, officers risk their lives while responding to calls, not knowing what they're walking into. But in Downtown Austin, officers have help from above.
The Austin Police Department has a total of 41 H.A.L.O., or High Activity Location Observation, cameras, with most of them being centered around Sixth Street.
They give officers a bird's-eye view from above about what's going on down below.
"I think it helps them get a picture, a more clear picture, about what exactly they're about to walk into or ride up on before they get there," H.A.L.O. officer Russell Rose told KVUE.
Rose and others like him keep an eye on the H.A.L.O. cameras from the department's Real-Time Crime Center at APD's headquarters downtown and relay the information they see to officers on the ground.
"They're used numerous times every day," he said.
For example, in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 27, a man pulled out a gun during a fight and fired a warning shot near East Sixth Street and San Jacinto Boulevard, police said.
He walked away from the scene and made his way near a bar on Trinity Street before police caught him, according to an arrest affidavit. A woman in the crowd was hurt, but the bullet didn't enter her body.
"It's difficult, especially if it's the weekend. There's a lot of people down there, and that's why we tend to use the cameras as far as watching the crowds because we can see a lot more than what the officers can see down there on the streets," Rose said.
The suspect, 24-year-old Keshawn Haley, told police he fired the gun into the air, according to the affidavit. But thanks to the video the H.A.L.O. cameras captured, officers determined he fired into the crowd.
"They're not hidden. None of our cameras are hidden. I think it's pretty well known that we're watching mostly the downtown area out there," Rose said.
KVUE reached out to APD to request the surveillance video the arresting officer referenced in his report, but because the case is still under investigation, a spokesperson said it wasn't available.