ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. -- All 40 Rockingham County sheriff's patrol deputies are armed with high definition body cameras.
Sheriff Sam Page said two weeks ago the department launched the use of L3 Body Vision cameras. The cameras clip comfortably to the front of the deputies vest or uniform.
“When you're having a law enforcement encounter you put your camera on and when you finish the encounter, you cut your camera off,” Sheriff Page said. “You just got to remind the guys you have to get in a routine of doing that.”
Page said several vendors came in and tested their models with the deputies before choosing the one that works best for the department.
“We wrote a grant through the governor’s crime commission and we received a grant for $10,000. I drew down from our seized asset money $10,000 and I went to the commissioners and asked from them $15,000,” Page said.
The purchase cost included 50 cameras, two computers and software and media storage equipment.
“Right now we're handling it with an in-house server. So we're maintaining it in-house and we do have support from Rockingham County IT Mr. Whicker and his crew has helped us quite a bit,” Page said.
Sheriff Page said he looked to other area agencies for ideas on particular model and policy procedures.
“We've looked at our Greensboro PD neighbors to see how they were doing. We've also got our own legal service that we can call upon for advisement but I think we've developed a good policy that will help us initiate the program and have a good life on it,” Page said.
Currently, the law allows for viewership of the footage by deputies in the use of complaints or court officials for evidence purposes. Sheriff Page believes conversation will soon begin on the public rights to law enforcement body camera video.
“I would anticipate our legislators will probably have some discussions this year and then maybe some modifications on the state law to allow more release of information because I think that there are times when the public needs to know what's going on. But we've just got to make sure that we're in compliance with what the law is,” Page said.