WAYNESVILLE, Mo. – Deputies in Pulaski County will start wearing body cameras this week. Officers believe the body cams will help protect themselves and the county they serve.
It seems there’s extra attention on officers all across the country and the Pulaski County Sheriff”s Office decided to be proactive by purchasing body cams for the first time. In case something happens and they need video evidence, they want to be prepared.
“Not everybody that’s out there is straight forward with us, and that’s why we need to protect ourselves,” said Lt. Ken Dodd.
The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office has purchased 20 body cameras.
“That body cam will record anything and everything, all the time they are on scene,” said the sheriff elect, Lt. Jimmy Bench. “This protects the officer, and it protects the public. It will also show me how my deputies are performing.”
The body cams are expected to arrive Monday and to be on and recording shortly after.
“We’ve had the policy and procedures in place on how to use them for months now,” said Sheriff Ron Long. “They’re not simple machines anymore, they do so many different things, so we do have to have some training on those.”
Sheriff Long said they expect to be using the body cams full-time by mid-week.
The price tag: $6,000 for all 20 cameras, paid for by the County Law Enforcement Restitution Fund.
“When an individual goes to court and is convicted of a crime, they pay toward this fund that helps us buy equipment, helps the prosecutor’s office, helps the county coroner’s office,” said Sheriff Long.
Lt. Dodd says the cameras have a large memory and will be on and recording for an officer’s entire shift. At the end of the day, all their footage will be downloaded onto a server, where the video cannot be edited, the sheriff says, and only command staff can review it if needed.
The sheriff’s office has already purchased some extra server space for all the footage. The sheriff says the newly implemented technology shouldn’t change much for deputies in the field.
“Having that body cam should not change the way we do things, because we should always be doing the right things anyway,” said Sheriff Long.
Lt. Dodd says they might purchase more body cams and consider adding night vision and GPS capabilities to their body cams in the future, if and when the budget allows.