Deputies don body cameras

Published 4:22 pm Monday, May 18, 2015

Deputies with the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department started wearing body cameras on May 1.

“With the way our world is going right now, this is just something we can use that will help tell both sides of the story,” Sheriff John Shearon said.

Due to recent national events involving law enforcement officers, Shearon said he believes it is in the “best interest of both citizens of Chilton County and the sheriff’s office employees to take all available avenues to maintain transparency.”

Shearon said the cameras worn by the deputies will not only benefit the public, but the deputies as well.

“They should generate a sense of accountability for officers in the field and decrease the amount of use-of-force complaints,” Shearon said in a release.

Additionally, the cameras will serve as evidence that deputies are doing their jobs appropriately and can be taken into the courtroom as part of their case file.

“Should any new complaints arise, we can check the footage of the officer’s shift for the incident in question and get definitive evidence of any problem that might arise,” Shearon said in a release.

Shearon said there was not a particular incident that occurred in the county prompting the department to purchase the cameras, but he believes having the body cameras will serve as a valuable tool for future incidents.

The cameras cost roughly $6,000 to purchase, and Shearon said all patrol deputies will have the cameras as well as deputies who work the “floor” at the jail and some investigators.