County focuses on body cameras |

County focuses on body cameras

by Amy Alonzo

The use of body cameras by Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies will be discussed by county commissioners at their Thursday meeting.

Senate Bill 111 — requiring Nevada Highway Patrol adopt the equipment — passed during the 2015 legislative session. This session, Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, is expected to introduce a similar bill requiring all law enforcement agencies adopt the body worn camera systems.

If approved, it is estimated the program will cost about $241,000 to implement for the entire Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, according to a report provided by the department. The price tag includes $62,000 for cameras and accessories; $27,000 for uploading and charging stations; $2,500 for software licenses; $102,700 for data storage costs; and $47,000 to fund a systems administrator position. Ongoing use of the cameras would incur about $152,000 in annual expenses for software licensing, data storage and the administrator position.

If only patrol officers, school resource officers and investigators were outfitted with cameras the total price tag would drop to about $168,000.

Cameras would be activated in situations including during vehicle stops; investigatory or nonconsensual contact with people; while serving warrants, searching people, locations or vehicles; and vehicle pursuits.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office underwent a feasibility study in 2016 to test cameras from six vendors — Digital Ally; Safariland-VIEVU; Watchguard; Taser International; Wolfcom; and Visual Laboratories. Taser International provided the best product, according to a memo prepared by Capt. Jim Halsey.

Taser International’s cameras are compact, have batteries that last the duration of officer’s shifts and are easy to use, according to the memo.

In addition, cameras will meet public expectations for increased transparency, help resolve citizen complaints, promote good behavior and conduct and provide evidence for prosecution, Halsey said.

Douglas patrol deputies work 10-hour shifts. It is estimated they will generate approximately 3.33 hours of video per shift. Footage from the cameras will be stored on a cloud-based evidence storage system provided by Taser International rather than a county IT-managed hard drive.