KEYSER - The Mineral County Commissioners Tuesday gave the go-ahead for the sheriff's department to purchase body cameras for its deputies.
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The Mineral County Commissioners Tuesday gave the go-ahead for the sheriff’s department to purchase body cameras for its deputies.
While the deputies’ cruisers have been equipped with cameras for approximately eight years now, the deputies have not had body cams and Capt. J.J. Wingler told the commissioners during their regular meeting Tuesday that the cameras would be beneficial both for prosecuting a case and also for the safety of the officers.
At a cost of $97,000, Wingler told the commissioners, “I’m not gonna lie; it’s expensive.”
That cost, however, is spread out over a five-year period and includes full warranty on the equipment, online storage of the tapes, maintenance and software upgrades, and an additional in-car camera for the county’s new cruiser.
“At the end of the term, the equipment belongs to us and at that point we pay for the storage, which is about $200 per unit per year,” Wingler told the News Tribune. “We would have the option at the end of the five years to renew to newer equipment, but the hope is that the equipment would last longer than that.”
According to Wingler, the in-car cameras the county currently has are made by the same manufacturer and have served the county well for around eight years.
“I highly recommend this (purchase) for several reasons,” prosecuting attorney Cody Pancake told the commissioners. “Whether it’s a DUI, or any officer-involved case, not only is it important for evidentiary purposes, but it’s also for the officer’s safety,” he said.
Wingler said the agreement would include body cams for “everybody that’s on patrol; basically from me down. Basically everybody but the sheriff.”
Commissioner Richard Lechliter made a motion to approve the purchase, and Jerry Whisner seconded it. The motion carried 3-0.