Miami County to buy body cameras for deputies

Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak has the money – and the go ahead – to buy body cameras for his deputies.

The sheriff Thursday, Oct. 8, outlined a plan for county commissioners for the purchase of 65 body cameras and associated equipment for nearly $147,000.

He hopes to have the cameras and the deputies trained on their use by the end of the year, Duchak said.

“I think body cameras are very much needed at this point and time in history,” said Commissioner Greg Simmons.

“You know how important I think this is,” said Commissioner Ted Mercer.

The body cameras will be paid for with a “generous” contribution from the Robinson Fund; reimbursement of $19,500 for cameras from the county insurance CORSA; and $102,269 from the sheriff’s “rotary” fund. The rotary fund by law is made up of money the department receives for special deputy services such as assisting the Job and Family Services Department along with townships and municipalities, Duchak said.

The price discussed with the commissioners included hardware and software for three years, he said.

Mercer thanked the Robinson Fund for the donation, saying the fund recognized the importance of the equipment for deputies “for the safety of them and also the general public.”

Elsewhere in Miami County, the Tipp City Police Department has had body cameras several years while the city of Troy continues to review options for obtaining cameras, said Patrick Titterington, the city’s service and safety director. The city is “waiting for the state to step up but having the discussion as part of our 2021 budget process,” Titterington said.

Although he and staff have explored options for body cameras the past two years, funding was an  issue, Duchak said.

Available funds were dedicated first to a required update of the camera systems at the county jail and the Incarceration Facility. That more than $1 million project was completed earlier this year.

“We have wanted them for a long time. It’s just technology is very expensive,” Duchak said.

The cameras would be purchased from WatchGuard, the company from which the county bought its cruiser video systems. The body cameras and the vehicle cameras would integrate. When the cruiser lights would turn on, so would the body cameras.

The body camera recordings would be retained for 30 days. Any recording involving an incident would be burned to a DVD for keeping.

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