During the Dubois County Council’s budget meeting Monday, Sheriff Tom Kleinhelter asked for $200,000 for cameras. This is an investment which could protect the sheriff’s deputies.
“In our eyes, it’s a big benefit to the department to have that extra level of protection to where it takes a person’s word against our officer’s word,” says Sergeant Stuart Wilson from the Dubois County Sheriff’s Office.
Some officers have a body camera already. Although, Sgt. Wilson says the technology is outdated and is not user-friendly. He says if an officer uses his body camera for eight hours, it would take an additional eight hours to download the footage once he gets back to the security center.
“We want our guys out in the field, doing their job, responding to calls, making traffic stops, and being proactive,” says Sgt. Wilson. “They can’t do that from here in the office.”
New body camera footage and equipment would allow for automatic downloads and the camera would automatically turn on when the officer gets a call.
“It would be one less thing for him to have to mess with or fiddle with,” says Sgt. Wilson. “He could be focused on any threats or any dangers that are at the call that he is going to.”
At Monday’s meeting, all council members agreed this upgrade is necessary. However, the Dubois County Council President, Jerry Hunefeld, says there are still many unanswered questions.
“The council like to know exactly how many are being purchased, how much are they, and is there a service plan which could cost some additional money,” asks Jerry Hunefeld.
So far the sheriff has a rough estimate on all of these costs. Hunefeld says he also wants to make sure the equipment in the sheriff’s office can handle the upgrade.
Many law enforcement agencies have had to make upgrades to hold more data since all local departments are required to store all footage for 190 days, enough time for someone to file a tort claim.
“Personally I can see a lot of advantages to it and I think it has merit and I think it’s something we need to continue to look at,” says Hunefeld.