Sheriff’s office using cameras

Published 12:05 am Friday, December 12, 2014

As the national debate continues over the need for police to wear body cameras, the Covington County Sheriff’s office is ahead of the pack.

President Barack Obama has called for $75 million to purchase body cameras for on-duty officers.

Obama’s call-to-action has come after separate grand jury decisions in which the cases against police officers who killed unarmed black men were no billed.

Throughout the country, protests ranging from marches with signs to “die-ins,” where protests lie down in stores and other public places, have become prevalent.

Chief Deputy David Anderson said the department has a few cameras already, but they’re looking at the possibility of more.

“We’re looking at the possibility of everyone having one,” he said. “We don’t have everyone right now. Some are in patrol and some are in investigations.”

The department has utilized the current cameras for about a year, he said.

Anderson said the department plans to check out how beneficial the cameras are before it invests in more.

“We’re in the process of reviewing them and seeing if it will be beneficial for us to use.”

The department currently has dashboard cameras in patrol vehicles, and Anderson said they plan to determine whether it is more advantageous to purchase a better car system, continue with the body cameras or have both.

“I feel they are an advantage if an officer is out of his car, and in a house where he can document what happened,” he said.

Anderson said they haven’t had a reason to use body cameras in court, but they have used car camera footage in numerous cases.