ERIE CO SHERIFFS STARTS BODY WORN CAMERA TRIAL
Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard announces his office has officially entered into a trial agreement with Axon Body Camera, a division of TASER International, for twelve body worn cameras, docking stations, and data storage. Twelve Deputies, assigned to various substations and districts, volunteered to be part of the test and evaluation period. This period will allow the Sheriff’s Office to evaluate the equipment, the technical support, and data storage requirements of a body worn camera system as well as provide an opportunity for the District Attorney's Office and the Sheriff’s Office to evaluate the process for sharing evidence. The Sheriff’s Office had some cameras in the field as part of a pilot program, but, as of October 12, the agency will participate in an official test period will last 60-days with an option to extend the trial. Deputies deployed at the Rath Building and four patrol districts, which include towns covered by District 1, District 2, District 3, and District 4 (ECSO Patrol District map), will be equipped with either the Axon Body Camera or the new generation of the Axon Flex Camera. “We really look forward to this formal test period and learning the capabilities of the cameras and the evidence storage systems,” explained Sheriff Howard. The Sheriff’s Office is hoping to gather data on average recording times, the size of the video, personnel hours required to review and redact evidence, and the costs of the equipment. Then the agency can estimate the annual costs associated with personnel and data storage. “We know that the public has called for more law enforcement agencies to wear body cameras, and I am committed to implementing a program for the Sheriff’s Office, but there remain many factors to consider such as data storage costs, as well as protecting the privacy of victims and their families. That is why this trial program will be very important to determine the long-term needs of the Sheriff’s Office and the County.” Axon Body Cameras are the first platform the Sheriff’s Office is testing and will consider other manufacturers for future trail programs.