Sheriff plans to purchase body cams


The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department has secured funding from the Jackson County Council through the CARES Act to buy new body cameras and data storage.

The sheriff’s department will be receiving 30 Pro-Vision body cameras for $549 each, totaling $16,470 overall. This cost includes docking stations used to charge the cameras and upload data from them.

County police also are getting a new cloud-based storage system. The system is being purchased on a five-year plan to store 2 to 10 terabytes of data. It’s being purchased for a maximum cost of $89,540 for 10 terabytes, but the sheriff’s department agreed to work on keeping the costs of the plan down if able.

The system is the CommandCentral Vault from Motorola Solutions.

County Auditor Kathy Hohenstreiter said every county department, with the exception of the health department, has accounted for what portion of the CARES Act funding it wants.

The county council has been actively working with the Jackson County Health Department on getting CARES Act funding to them. Their intent is to use funding for marketing materials to prevent COVID-19 spread.

Jackson County Human Resource Director Jeff Hubbard said the county has approximately $214,000 left in CARES Act funding.

Jackson County Sheriff Rick Meyer said the idea to purchase body cameras came up when the state started granting CARES Act funding.

“When the CARES Act started rolling through the state, we started looking into body cameras because some departments in Indiana and around the country had received money through the CARES Act, so we began researching that,” he said.

Meyer said body cameras could help with contact tracing if footage is captured with anyone that tests positive for COVID-19, people trying to infect others on purpose or of large crowds.

County Prosecutor Jeff Chalfant spoke in support of purchasing new equipment for the sheriff’s department at the meeting. He spoke on the quality of the body cameras the sheriff’s department has now.

“We’ve had body cams at the sheriff’s department before, (but) most of them don’t work anymore,” he said.

Chalfant said one reason body cameras are being requested is because county police are not compliant with the Freedom of Information Act that requires police departments to preserve data.

County Officer Brad Barker showed off the Pro-Vision body cameras that were being requested. After hitting record, the cameras pick up 10 seconds of footage before the recording was started. The cameras also automatically record when detecting blue and red lights.

Chalfant and county Sgt. Ben Rudolph talked about the data storage system being requested. They said the system wouldn’t not only be used for storing data but also for managing records at the sheriff’s department and prosecutor’s office.

“This is a storage solution not just for the body camera footage, but it’s all-encompassing with the record management software we currently use through Motorola that we do all of our case work through,” Chalfant said.

The system also can be used to retrieve data from surveillance systems at businesses across Jackson County if they have compatible software.

Rudolph said the system is cloud-based, making data more secure and preventing it from being lost. Since the data would be cloud-based, all of it could be accessed from any location in the world.

Currently, the officers store data on their PCs.

The new system also is efficient, cutting the time it would take officers to retrieve data. Chalfant said the current system being used takes officers one to two hours on a shift to get data. The process involves typing information, burning discs and delivering physical media to the appropriate court.

Barker said the sheriff’s department would go “virtually paperless” with the new system.

Officers also will be able to redact nudity and private information that could be captured from body camera footage with the new data storage system.

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