Bryan Co. deputies now using body cameras

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 4:40 PM EDT
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BRYAN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s a big change in Bryan County, sheriff’s deputies are now wearing body cameras.

All patrol staff were required to start using the cameras last month. The sheriff says they’re always activated and recording and it helps them be more transparent with the community.

Patrol officers will sign in and check out the cameras, then their name will pop up on the camera when it’s ready to go.

The sheriff says the body cameras will always capture video, but an officer has to hit record for it to capture any audio. He also emphasized they’re designed so they aren’t easy to turn off.

“Watch Guard has set this so if it accidentally got bumped, and it bumped one time, it’s not supposed to turn off. It has to be intentionally bumped twice for it to turn off,” said Sheriff Mark Crowe.

It’s been about a year long process to get the cameras because of COVID and weather-related issues, but the sheriff says part of his campaign was to outfit the entire department with them to be more transparent with the community.

“It helps the officer in many ways. It can clear an officer who’s been accused of some situation that didn’t really happen. It can also hurt them in several ways. If they say something didn’t happen and it did happen then we have a disciplinary action.”

They were able to get the cameras funded under the county’s budget.

“It’s about $500-1000 per box and then the iCloud storage on top of that is an additional $500 per unit so we’re looking at a good chunk of money when you’re talking about 15 or 20 body cameras.”

All their video, like the one we recorded today, pops up right in their iCloud library. The sheriff says he hopes more agencies will require these in the near future.

“It hasn’t been a normal thing over the course of years past, to have officers outfitted with body cameras but going into the future, I think it’s gonna be something that’s either required by the state of Georgia or required by the public itself.”

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