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FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office expects to get body cameras for some deputies in 2015, but the number and cost are yet to be determined.

The sheriff’s office said in June that it hoped to use $88,341.50 in grant funds to purchase body-worn video cameras to supplement deputies’ in-car cameras.

The sheriff’s office has now been awarded that grant, Chief Deputy Brad Stanley reported to the county commissioners in December.

Now the department is assessing how best to move forward with a purchase, Stanley said last week.

The current national scrutiny of police actions means those body cameras are in hot demand now, and the technology is evolving.

“I can’t tell you that we’ll have everyone with a camera (in 2015), but we’ll have some, and the number is still yet to be determined,” Sheriff Bill Schatzman said.

The U.S. Department of Justice each year awards Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant money to law enforcement agencies. In the past, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office has used the money to purchase items such as software and video recording systems.

Stanley said the sheriff’s office was trying to be proactive in 2014 when it decided to use the latest grant to get body cameras for deputies.

Now those cameras are a hot topic across the nation, and Stanley said sheriff’s office personnel are having trouble getting company representatives to speak with them.

“They’re inundated with everybody wanting to purchase these,” Stanley said.

Incidents in Missouri and New York where unarmed black men were killed by police sparked a wave of protests across the nation and discussions about police use of deadly force.

Many departments were already equipping officers with body cameras to provide a better record of interactions with citizens, and now more are coming on board.

The small cameras can be clipped to glasses, headbands or shirts and provide footage when officers are out of range of in-car cameras.

Schatzman said cameras on officers will make the community safer.

He said the cameras will encourage citizens to behave better, because they know they are being recorded, and will improve community relations by providing accountability.

“It will, I believe, restore the trust and confidence in law enforcement for those who don’t have trust and confidence in law enforcement,” Schatzman said.

Stanley said deputies currently have cameras in cars, and sheriff’s office Tasers can record audio and video. Body cameras are the next step.

The sheriff’s office has until Sept. 30, 2017, to spend the grant money.

Stanley said officials hear that there will be technology upgrades to body cameras in 2015, such as remote storage upload and triggers that will automatically turn on the cameras.

There is also the potential that federal funding could be available to purchase cameras.

Stanley said the hope is that eventually every officer in the field and in the detention center would be equipped with these cameras.

“This will probably become sort of a standard issue piece of equipment,” Stanley said.

An incoming state representative from Guilford County, Cecil Brockman, last month told the Greensboro News & Record that he plans to file in January a proposed bill that would require police officers to wear body cameras.

The Winston-Salem Police Department had about 40 officers using body cameras and an additional 90 patrol officers started wearing cameras in September. Officials say plans are in the works to fully equip the police force.

The key for the sheriff’s office is funding, Schatzman said.

In June, Stanley estimated that the cost for each unit – including the camera and data storage – would be about $3,500, meaning the county could get 25 units with the JAG money.

Stanley said he doesn’t know what the cost will be now, and the county’s selected data storage method will play a role in determining cost.