Warren County Sherriff’s Department wants to improve its transparency and accountability with the use of body cameras.
“Everybody knows that in today’s times that body cams are becoming more prevalent among law enforcement,” said Sheriff’s Department Major Jason Walker. “You’ll get mixed reactions among law enforcement officers on cameras in general.”
Walker has worked at departments with and without body cameras.
“Many years ago, I left and went to work for Manchester Police Department,” said Walker. “They had them in every car. I found out the camera was my friend rather than my enemy. Body cameras help with complaints. It knocks down complaints because you can just pull up the video. Cameras help with lawsuits. About 99.9% of the time cameras help you rather than hurt you.”
The information was presented before a joint meeting on Thursday of the county’s Budget and Finance Committee and Building and Grounds Committee, a meeting arranged to determine how best to spend $1 million in grant monies allocated to Warren County government by Gov. Bill Lee.
Requested by the Sheriff’s Department was $35,000 to purchase 26 cameras and an upgrade to the Sheriff’s Department computer system so it can be used for video storage.
“We will actually have storage on site,” said Walker. “We won’t have to pay for iCloud storage.”
Storage of the videos, in some instances, is an additional cost.
“That was my main concern – storage cost,” said Commissioner Scott Rubley. “We had brought this up a couple years ago to Tommy (Myers, Sheriff) and he said he’d like to have them but we couldn’t afford the data storage cost.”
Walker replied, “Technology keeps changing and costs keep coming down.”
The measure to spend $35,000 was unanimously approved in committee and will be sent to the full Warren County Commission for consideration.