BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Sheriff’s deputies in one of Alabama’s largest counties are now armed with body cameras.
Jefferson County’s deputies are now wearing the equipment after nearly a year of testing and evaluating the technology, Al.com reported.
Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale recently announced the deployment of the body cams and in-car cameras.
Supporters say that recording encounters between citizens and officers reduces police violence and protects officers by providing objective video evidence.
Skeptics say that body cameras create privacy concerns for officers and citizens.
The sheriff said he believes the video and audio will aid in the prosecution of cases and aid in the investigation of complaints against deputies.
“I think what we’ll find and what is being seen nationwide is that the overwhelming majority of the time, these cameras show law enforcement officers are doing things right,” Hale said, “and the few times that doesn’t happen it gives us a great tool for corrective training.”
Hale entered into an agreement in August with Axon to acquire the Generation 4 cameras from the company.
A federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice awarded to the sheriff’s office will pay 50 percent of the cost associated with equipping deputies with these cameras, Al.com reported. Sheriff’s officials took the lead on securing a federal grant for $702,000 that is being shared between the sheriff’s office and other area law enforcement agencies that needed assistance in acquiring the cameras.
“I can’t tell you how excited we are to secure this equipment, not just for now but also for future technology that will work in coordination with these cameras,” the sheriff said.
“There is technology being tested now that will work in concert with our system that will have the potential to eliminate dangerous car chases that put innocent people at risk,” Hale said. “There is also technology being tested for this system that will eventually eliminate hand-entered reporting.”