Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Ten months later, county approves new sheriff’s office camera, video system

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On Tuesday, the Coryell County Commissioners Court approved a nearly $470,000 request from the Coryell County Sheriff's Office to purchase new body cameras and in-car video equipment to replace an outdated system.  

The sheriff’s office brought the dilemma to commissioners’ court in April 2023 after the company providing their original camera and video system went out of business. Lieutenant Chad Summers said the sheriff’s office needed a new system since they could not replace the parts to the old equipment or receive customer support.

“We’re just happy that it’s finally approved, so we can move forward for the safety of our officers in the community knowing that we have a good system that we're going to be putting in our vehicles,” Summers said. “The community and our officers, we did a lot of work trying to figure out which one we were going to go with, and through that I think we found a good system that we can add onto later.”

Commissioner Scott Weddle said the county plans to apply funds from Senate Bill 22, a state grant that provides financial assistance to sheriff’s offices in rural counties.

“As a court, it is our fiduciary responsibility to support the sheriff's office and give them the tools not only to protect them, but to protect our citizens,” Weddle said. “And part of that, of course, is body cams and in-car videos.”

Due to a state law that requires law enforcement officers to use body worn cameras, Summers said the sheriff’s office was using cameras from Amazon until they received a new system.

The updated equipment will be provided by Safe Fleet, a company that provides digital safety equipment for law enforcement agencies. Safe Fleet systems are also utilized by the Gatesville Police Department as well as law enforcement agencies in Harker Heights, Killeen, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

“It makes it easier for the county attorney and district attorney and everybody using the same system to get videos,” Summers said.

Now that the cameras are approved, Summers said the sheriff’s office will receive the equipment within a 30-day time period. He adds that the sheriff’s office will install the cameras. 

“To save the county some money, we're going to certify some of our guys on installing these, so that later on down the road if we have an issue with something they can do the whole maintenance on it,” Summers said.