St. Joseph County Police Department may get body cameras

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 11:25 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The St. Joseph County Police Department is one step closer to getting body cameras.

“Obviously it was put on hold due to COVID and all the other issues we had to real with in 2020,” said St. Joseph County Sheriff Bill Redman.

At a meeting Tuesday night, the council voted to move it forward favorably for public hearing and vote on August 10.

“We feel pretty confident that we are all in agreement that this is an important asset to our department to help protect our officers and the citizens that we serve,” Redman said.

The county received $26 million from the American Rescue Fund.

Although the money will be used for COVID-related things, it can also be used for any public purpose to the extent of lost revenue.

The county plans to use $2.2 million for body cameras, new car cameras, tasers and a virtual training system.

“With these body cams, if an officer deploys his or her taser or deploys his or her handgun, the cameras would automatically come on,” Redman said.

After a lot of research, the police department chose a company called AXON to provide the equipment.

“People are demanding more transparency and body cameras are just the way of the future for law enforcement...Most of them are used to it by now, being recorded, through their in-car cameras, they’ve got some experience with it. This will be totally new for everybody,” Redman said.

The American Rescue Plan will also be used for technology improvements and a communitywide drinking water protection plan.

If the body cameras are approved at the August 10 meeting, the police department hopes to get them installed and ready to go in 60 days.

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