STAFF REPORT :::
Beginning April 17, 2017 Deputies of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office will begin wearing body worn cameras as a part of their issued duty gear.
The cameras were ordered in early February arrived in March. According to Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix.
“The delay we had in issuing the cameras to the deputies as soon as they came in was arranging for computer storage space for the videos. Retaining videos using state mandated retention limits takes up a massive amount of storage. Fortunately, we were able to work with one of our detention center vendors and they donated approximately $14,000.00 for the storage space needed. Liberty Technology set the storage up and has it running. The cameras themselves were purchased with asset forfeiture money so there was no cost to the taxpayers for this program at all,” Dix said. “We are issuing them out as we speak to deputies that are working and will continue to do so until they are all distributed. Once completely issued the cameras will be worn by Deputies in Uniform Patrol, Warrant Division, Court Services, School Resource Officers and Detention officers. Basically, if you wear a uniform on a day to day basis you will have on a camera.”
Sheriff Dix continued, “This project was a priority due to the expectations placed on law enforcement officers in this day and age, coupled with the demands of citizens and the courts for video evidence and transparency. It’s been my experience that the cameras have led to reductions in complaints filed on officers, reductions in internal investigations, less time spent in court proceedings, and fewer use of force incidents. I believe that they will also increase convictions in a broad spectrum of criminal cases because you are seeing what the deputy saw during the initial call for service, encounter, or arrest.”
The policy for camera usage and data storage has been distributed and is modeled after state law, policies that meet State Certification and CALEA standards, and have also been court tested.
“We believe this program will be an asset to the agency and the community. It will further our efforts to continue building trust and adding transparency for the citizens of Spalding County,” Dix said.