PRC Sheriff’s Department considering switch to body cams

Published 7:00 am Friday, February 6, 2015

The Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department is looking to provide body-worn video cameras to patrol officers.

Maj. Kelvin Stanford said the department’s current dashboard-mounted cameras in patrol vehicles are aging and costly to repair.

“The cost to send just one dashboard camera to be repaired is $495 without including repair costs,” Stanford said.

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In an effort to replace the old dashboard cameras, Stanford said the department is currently in the planning stages of purchasing body-worn cameras.

“While body-worn cameras can range anywhere from $800 to $900, we have been looking around and found a good option for body-worn cameras around $400 apiece,” Stanford said. “Which makes it a better deal in the end because we will be paying more or less the same amount for a new product, instead of repairing our aging cameras.”

While the dashboard cameras are placed in a fixed position inside the vehicle, Stanford said the body-worn cameras offer the flexibility of moving with the officer.

“The advantage of the body-worn camera is it provides video when an officer is away from the vehicle, either when they’re inside a building or out of view from the vehicle,” he said. “The video camera goes where he goes, so he doesn’t have to worry about standing in front of the car.”

Currently, the department is looking for funding for the cameras.

“We are seeking funding options and looking into different brands. At the end of the day, we’d rather use grant money and seek any other options instead of using the department’s budget,” Stanford said.

According to a recent study conducted by University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology, body-worn cameras decreased the use of force by officers by around 50 percent.

Stanford said the cameras will provide the officers with safety and accountability after they get out of the vehicle.