Monroe County deputies will soon wear body cameras

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Dec. 8, 2015) —The Monroe County Sheriff's Office plans to have all deputies wear body cameras by Christmas.

The department will have officers record all interactions involving criminal activity to make sure the officer and suspect are being treated lawfully. The department expects to make around 15,000 recordings in 2016.

“(The camera) alters the behavior of the person wearing it and it alters the behavior of the person being recorded," Monroe County Sheriff Brad Swain said.

The department bought 36 body cameras for its 32 deputies and spent $39,000 on the  program. The sheriff said the money came from less than expected fuel costs in 2015. Future costs of the program are expected to be between $5,000 and $6,000 a year, Monroe County Sheriff's Office Captain of Operations Ryan Davis said. All recordings will be stored on a server in the sheriff's office.

Sheriff Swain said the cameras will make his officers safer and his department more efficient.

“The motivation is there for a deputy to record interactions because more often than not there are false allegations and this exonerates them," Swain said.

The sheriff said even after working out kinks in the program during a trial in October, he will be watching what legislation comes down from the statehouse regarding the storage and distribution of body camera footage.

“I have concern if it becomes too intrusive or too much of a burden on law enforcement, it will effectively kill the program," Swain said.

The Monroe County Merit Board, a group of five sheriff deputies, will make a final vote on the body camera program December 16.

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