Sheriff’s deputies could begin wearing body-worn cameras in August, with the devices in full use throughout the department in about a year, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said this week.
The county’s largest law enforcement agency has been looking into using the technology for years, Barnes said during a live stream video on Tuesday, July 20. The sheriff said he hopes the body cameras will help improve transparency..
“The most important part about this is we have almost 2,000 deputy sheriffs in the department,” he said, “and many of those who are in field operations and other units that interact with the public will be going to a body-worn camera program as well.”
Barnes said deputies have been asking about getting the cameras and are looking forward to the program.
It’s taken years to implement the program because of having to figure out how to operate it, including the size of video files, bandwidth, storage and the number of people it will take to manage the cameras, Barnes said.
The county’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider whether to approve the $12.7 million program, with the money spread over five years, according to county documents. Some of the funding would also come from the Sheriff’s Department’s 13 contract cities.
The multi-million dollar contract would be with Axon Enterprise, documents show, a company also used by other law enforcement agencies in the county for body cameras. The Sheriff’s Department did a pilot program with Axon that put body cameras on 20 deputies for a few months in 2018.
Anaheim’s police department became the first in the county to use body-worn cameras in early 2015; other local agencies have since adopted them, as well.
Source: Orange County Register