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Sheriff’s Office weighs body camera costs

SYCAMORE – The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office is one step closer to obtaining body cameras for its deputies and corrections officers, but it isn’t going to be free.

Sheriff Roger Scott told the DeKalb County Board’s Law and Justice Committee on Monday that he’s been concerned for a long time about the cost of implementing a body camera program in his office. Finding the money for implementing and maintaining the program meant that decisions had to be made.

“I can’t give up deputies for cameras or gasoline for cameras,” he said.

The total project cost for equipping patrol units with the cameras runs between $91,0000 and $92,000, according to an estimate Scott presented Monday.

Additionally, the program would cost at least an additional $14,500 to get the cameras to the corrections staff in the DeKalb County Jail.

Costs at the jail also could include an additional $50,000 to $60,000 for a separate server to store information.

Scott recommended extending the program to the jail because the corrections staff work in “one of the most dangerous and liability-vulnerable areas in law enforcement.”

Another cost of the program is handling the extended Freedom of Information requests that would come with the additional video available.

Lt. Jim Burgh of the sheriff’s office said that certain types of incidents can be “flagged” when they are recorded. Most video has to be kept for 90 days; on the 91st day after recording, a video is purged from the system.

A “flagged” video, however, such as use of force, discharge of a firearm or incidents where death or great bodily harm occurs, is required to be kept for two years or until the case is resolved.

The software needed for performing redactions would be included in the program because the county already is a customer with Kustom Signal.

“If we go with this program, we’re going to need an increase in work staff,” Scott said.

He said that the manufacturer, Kustom Signal of Indiana, told him every 15 minutes of video takes 90 minutes to redact. The redacting process includes blurring out faces of people not involved in the incident but who end up on video.

Although no new personnel would be hired, two existing positions would be upgraded and are estimated to cost about $51,600 – more than half the projected total price tag of the project.

Scott said that the office could apply for state grants to help offset the costs. In all, the office would need 62 vantage body cameras to assign to both patrol and corrections staff – in addition to the docking stations, magnetic mounts and other accessories.

The Law and Justice Committee voted Monday to pass the proposal onto the Finance Committee.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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