Butler County Deputies get Tech Upgrades
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Butler County Sheriff’s Deputies are getting some new technology upgrades, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. The grant money was used to purchase two new car camera systems for the deputies, something Butler County Sheriff Kenny Harden said they desperately need.
“We’ve got some that’s out of date, quit working and just obsolete at this time,” Harden explained. “So we’re upgrading those cameras.”
The system will actually come with two cameras, one placed at the front of the car facing out over the dash, and another in the back facing any passengers. While most would think the cameras are there to protect the public, they are actually more for the officer’ safety.
“For example,” said District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer. “If there is a verbal altercation, or an allegation of a physical altercation, we can go back and look at those videos and it’ll tell us what really happened. And a lot of times, that does protect the officer from any kind of false allegations concerning their behavior.”
The new cameras also have a wireless microphone that will attach to the deputy. That way, if the camera cannot film something in a home or at an angle, the microphone will record audio of the incident. And they have a feature that allows them to turn on automatically, leaving little room for human error.
“As soon as they turn the blue lights on, these cameras automatically turn on,” Tesmer added. “And so they record anything that happens during that stop, or anything that happens during that interaction with whomever they stop.”
The camera systems cost around $5,000 each, using all of the grant money and a little of the Sheriff’s reserve funds. Sheriff Harden said even though they come with a large price tag, nothing is worth more than an officer’s life.
“You cannot put a price on it,” Harden said. “This day and time, with everything they’ve seen on the news, and different instances that took place, then they’re all for the cameras. It’s not as hard to get them to turn them on now. So, it’s a safety tool for them.”
Sheriff Harden is still applying for grant money, and hopes to have new camera technology on all ten of the Butler County Sheriff cars by the end of the year.