CRISP CO., GA (WALB) - Soon, every certified member of the Crisp County Sheriff's Office will be equipped with a body camera while on duty, thanks to a grant from the Department of Justice.
Sheriff Billy Hancock explained that the grant is all about getting a "virtual view" of what his deputies are doing on a daily basis.
Up until now, Crisp County Sheriff's Deputies have only had dash cameras to record traffic stops and patrols.
"We've always said that was the unbiased person," said Sheriff Hancock. "That was the witness we can all believe in."
However, in the next couple months, that witness, a camera, will extend to the deputy's person through body cameras.
"We're carrying that witness into homes with us, we're carrying that witness into dark alleys with us, so we're going to have the true story of what happened," Sheriff Hancock said.
CCSO recently received one grant to pay for 30 body cameras for the agency, but that wouldn't be enough for everyone.
"We were going to pick and choose who might wear a body camera inside the agency," he said.
Last week, Sheriff Hancock got word that another grant, this one from the Department of Justice, will add 30 more body cameras. That's 60 total and includes one for every staff member working with the public, even those in the Crisp County Detention Center.
Lt. Tammera Sears said that is a positive for Crisp County taxpayers.
"Having the opportunity, with the funding coming through these grants, allows us the opportunity to not have to spend money locally here on the cameras," said Lt. Sears. "We're thankful for that."
Sheriff Hancock said the body cameras will limit the department's encounters that might typically depend on "he said, she said," and provide liability protection over his deputies and the public.
"It's no longer us taking a stand and saying what happened," said Sheriff Hancock. "It's showing the people what happened."
Sheriff Hancock said one of the most expensive parts of purchasing body cameras is the software for storage. The DOJ grant will help pay for 5 years of storage for the footage from the body cameras.
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