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Columbia supervisors give okay for purchase of body-worn cameras for Sheriff's Dept.

Jan 22, 2021 3:00 pm

Jeanette Wolfberg is reporting for The Columbia Paper at its year-end meeting December 30, the Columbia County Board of Supervisors approved to purchase body-worn cameras for Sheriff's Deputies at the cost of $500,000. Some believe more planning is necessary before the cameras can be activated. The idea of body cameras received favorable responses at the county Police Reform Panel meetings in December. Stockport Police Chief James Delaney said the cameras “protect the officer, they protect the town, and they protect the individual being interviewed by the police.” County Sheriff David Bartlett said the cameras allow “additional accountability,” and Greenport Police Chief Kevin Marchetto said they “protect us from lawsuits. It would be nice if insurance companies bought them for us.” At the year-end meeting, the board authorized an agreement with Axon Enterprises, Inc., for $100,000 per year for the purchase of body-worn cameras and related equipment and storage,” for five years. Hudson 3rd Ward Supervisor Michael Chameides noted, “For body cameras to be effective tools, there needs to be a good policy on how to use them.” In some cities and counties that do not have good policies, he continued, the camera footage can be edited before the public or the defendant are allowed to see it, if they get to see it at all. The regular use of body cameras can take several months to implement, so there is time to develop a policy in the interim. Chameides said, “It’s a matter of doing the work and having the engagement. If we can spend half a million on that, we can certainly have a few meetings about how to use it.” Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.

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