MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Sheriff’s Office will be equipping deputies with body cameras in early 2021.
Sheriff Dave Duchak said the department has looked into getting body cameras for several years but the cost was prohibitive with other more pressing needs. However over the last few months conversations ramped up.
“The goal was always to get them,” Duchak said. “I’ve always been in favor of them. I think most, if not all of the deputies, have been in favor of them too. In light of current events it kind of moved up higher on the priority list.”
A portion of the cost of the cameras is being covered thanks to a donation of $25,000 from Thom and Pat Robinson. The county’s insurance company will also provide a $300 credit on each of the 65 cameras. That means of the nearly $165,000 cost for the cameras, software, and IT infrastructure $44,500 will be covered by non-tax payer money.
“The cost just don’t end after you purchase it,” Duchak said. “There’s maintenance costs that are recurring. So there’s constant costs and everybody has tight budgets.”
Sheriff Duchak said each deputy will be issued his/her own camera. He also said that they’re finalizing the body camera policies like when the cameras must be on.
The cameras are made by the same company, Watch Guard, that makes the cruiser cameras used in the deputies' cruisers. Duchak said the latest update from Watch Guard for the body cameras will include human recognition that will have the lens recognize and continue to focus on the person the deputy is talking with even if the deputy turns and moves slightly.
Watch Guard has seen a large influx of orders from other law enforcement agencies according to Duchak. The county will likely submit the purchase order in December pending any delays. The hope is that the sheriff’s office will then receive and be able to put the cameras into circulation and use in mid to late February.