Sheriff’s office investigates body cameras |

Sheriff’s office investigates body cameras

by Aurora Sain
Shannon Litz/The Record-Courier

With the Nevada Highway Patrol mandated to wear body cameras by 2016, the Douglas County Sheriffs office is getting ready for the chance that they will get them too.

Sherriff Ron Pierini said he thinks it will probably be mandatory after the next legislative session in 2017, a change that the department will welcome.

“I have no objection,” he said. “I think the public thinks law enforcement should have them.”

The key to making body cameras successful would be to watch the highway patrol and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police department, Pierini said.

Both departments will be outfitted with the cameras by 2016, with Las Vegas leading the way since 2014.

Douglas County plans to study the policies that both agencies have in place, the equipment that they use and the program’s cost-effectiveness.

One of the main concerns about body cameras comes from the privacy angle, said Pierini.

How long the cameras will run and whether the officer can turn the video on or off is a major concern to the department, which is why Pierini said they would be studying how the other agencies handle it.

“The fact is that we have a year and a half, we should be done fine tuning the program,” said Pierini. “We can look at the policies, the money, the good and the bad, we can look at it all.”

Not all information would be public record, especially if it is part of an ongoing investigation or if it includes confidential personnel or victim information.

The benefit to the body camera program is that there would be more accountability on both parties’ sides.

“Throughout the country there has been some bad times (involving police officers),” said Pierini. “Body cameras would prohibit bad behavior.”

Another concern comes whether or not civilians will feel comfortable talking to police if they know they are being recorded, and whether or not private police officer conversations will be recorded, a problem that will have to get worked out along the way.

“We’ve got a long ways to go, but we are open minded and wanting to do it,” said Pierini. “Let’s make sure we do it the right way.”