Sheriff – Streamlining Body Camera Footage
Body cameras have received a lot of attention as a tool to increase law enforcement accountability and transparency. It is also a valuable way to protect officers from unwarranted complaints and serves as an effective deterrent.
When the Kern County Sheriff’s Office first implemented body worn cameras for the Wasco Substation, documenting footage to ensure its preservation was and continues to be a priority. On average, the Wasco City Substation submits around sixty (60) complaints to the District Attorney every month. Each package required the Deputy Sheriff to burn two (2) DVD copies of the footage. One copy was booked as evidence and the second copy was attached to the complaint package for the D.A’s review. This process required the Deputy to be at the Substation and take up to thirty (30) minutes to complete the process.
To solve this time-consuming process, the Sheriff’s Office began using a secure backup server to ensure footage is not lost. This established a better and faster process by eliminating the need to burn a DVD copy. Sheriff’s Support Technicians have also been trained on the system to download and provide the footage to the District Attorney. This allows Deputies to save significant time over the course of a year and focus more of their effort on patrol functions.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
By improving this process, sworn Deputies will save 240 hours a year. Deputies no longer waste time by processing body worn camera footage for all criminal complaints. This provides the City of Wasco an additional 240 hours of patrol service by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office and saves money by having civilian personal perform this function.
The cost savings of 240 hours per year plus the cost savings of using civilian personnel to perform these duties is approximately $16,795 annually. This is in addition to 240 re-directed hours for sworn peace officers to be on patrol, visible, and available to the City of Wasco.
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