Update: Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Department is exploring options for aquiring body cameras

The department has started the process to provide its patrol officers with body cameras, due to legislation and discussions surrounding police reform and practices.
Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 10:39 PM MST
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT)- The Twin Falls Sheriff’s Department has started the process to provide its patrol officers with body cameras, due to legislation and discussions surrounding police reform and practices.

Just about everyone remembers the events surrounding the death of George Floyd. The incident led to protest in the streets, to a police officer being convicted for his death. There is even proposed legislation in his name: The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021.

The provisions of the bill include everything from restricting the use of no-knock warrants and carotid holds to requiring local and state police agencies that use existing federal funds to acquire body cameras.

“They are pretty much telling us if this passes, the way it is written now, if we want to be eligible for those federal funds to continue, then you are going to add body cams and have in-car cameras in the very near future,” said Captain Scott Bishop of the Twin Falls Sheriff’s Department.

He admits the sheriff’s department is kind of late to the game, and the Twin Falls Police Department and the majority of sheriff’s offices in the state already use body cameras. However, up until a year ago Twin Falls Sheriff’s Department never had a reason to acquire them.

“It wasn’t something people were calling for. I know most of my neighbors. I know most of the people I deal with and most of the people in this area are great,” Bishop said.

He also said another reason they were not looking to purchase body cameras in the past was because of the cost associated with them. Bishop said up until last year they were looking to use any available funds to add another person or two to the roster because of their increased calls for service. The sheriff’s department is dealing with 7,000 more calls for service today than they were in 2011.

“So now the question is which one do we truly choose for because you can’t have both,” Bishop said.

If the sheriff’s department wants to continue to be eligible for federal funds which is a good chunk of their budget, Bishop said they will need about 50 body cameras for their patrol officers. The cost could be anywhere from $50,0000 to $250,000, depending on which provider they go with and what components they want. He also said the cameras themselves are not that expensive, it’s the storage because some evidence has to be stored up to 100 years.

“A lot of different ways on how to store it. Whether it is the clouds or the servers we have in the house, so right now we are just making sure we do all the research to find out where we are going to fall in that,” Bishop said.

The captain said discussions are still in the early stages, and in the end how much they get and what they purchase will not be up to the department.

“Honestly it is probably going to be up to the commissioners at the end of the day. We are probably somewhere in the $100,000 to $150,000 range,” Bishop said. “Our next step is to present those findings to them and then they start to make choices.”

-Original Story-

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —The Twin Falls Sheriff’s Department is exploring the possibility of purchasing body cameras for their patrol officers.

The sheriff’s department recently gave a preliminary presentation to the Twin Falls County commissioners about the cost associated with purchasing body cameras.

The sheriff’s department said body cameras would make the department eligible for future federal grant money, but one of the big concerns is the cost associated with the cameras. The equipment would cost the county $90,000 upfront and $60,000 every year after that.

“But the cost beyond that you really don’t see is that server space, and the extra employees to manage that, to catalog it for court for both prosecution and defense,” Jack Johnson Twin Falls County commissioner.

He also said the discussions with the sheriff’s department are in the very early stages and nothing is planned at this time.

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