Times Staff Report
Sheriff’s deputies in Jefferson County are now equipped with body cameras.
Sheriff Mike Hale said his department has tested and evaluated the technology for the past year and now deputies have body cams and in-car cameras.
“We are very excited to equip our deputy sheriffs with this valuable tool that will not only help us protect the community but also build additional trust between this office and those we serve,” Hale said.
The department did its due diligence before making the purchase, the sheriff said.
“We had to be very patient in waiting on this technology to improve and [for the] cost to come down,” he said. “It would have been a mistake to make this kind of large investment and [then] turn around and have to do it over again . . . with this Generation 4 Body and Car Camera System that will not be necessary.”
Hale entered into an agreement this summer with Axon to acquire the Generation 4 cameras from the company.
Sheriff’s officials said they took the lead on securing a federal grant for $702,000 that is being shared between the sheriff’s office and other area law enforcement agencies that needed assistance in acquiring the cameras.
The system can help put an end to car chases “that put innocent people in danger yet allow us to capture the criminal safely,” Hale said.
“It is also well documented that this system will enhance the trust of the public that we serve and continue to improve that critical relationship,” he said. “If a law enforcement officer acts outside of the proper standard we will have a valuable tool to get that corrected. Opposite that is an officer wrongly accused will have evidence of it.”
He added, “I think what we’ll find and what is being seen nationwide is that the overwhelming majority of the time, these cameras show law enforcement officers are doing things right,” Hale said, “and the few times that doesn’t happen it gives us a great tool for corrective training.”
Associated Press contributed to this post.