Clay County Sherrif’s Office to be equipped with new body cams at little to no cost

Local News

CLAY COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — In a fast-paced profession when things can change in an instant, body cameras are becoming more common in law enforcement.

“It’s very difficult to say you didn’t say something you said, when we’re recording it, it’s very difficult to do that,” Clay County Sheriff Jeff Lyde said.

Not only for those like the Clay County Sheriff’s Office but also all residents of the county.

“We’ve got video proof of whatever happened, on whatever event is going on, and now more than ever it seems that is more necessary,” Clay County Judge Mike Campbell said.

Although not required by state or federal law, Sheriff Lyde said recent events, like the August officer-involved shooting, show the need is there.

“When we had [Deputy] Chitwood shot several weeks ago, had he been wearing a body camera, we would’ve had better footage of the assault when it took place,” Lyde said.

On top of that, 75% of the nearly $17,000 price tag is covered by the Body-Worn Camera Grant Program through the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Justice Division.

While the other 25% will be covered with seized money by the sheriff’s office.

“It won’t add anything to the budget for the county, but it will provide good safety measures for our deputies, as well as the citizens,” Campbell said.

Much like they were with bulletproof vests, Lyde hopes to be one step ahead with body cams.

“Once they become mandatory the price of the camera goes up, the price of the storage units goes up, everything goes up and the grant money goes away that’s how that works,” Lyde said.

Even if that requirement does come in the future, it’s still a win-win for the county.

“I can be wrong and this still doesn’t cost us anything today, but assuming I’m right, we have to go ahead and hit it, while we can, while we can the money to do it,” Lyde said.

Improvements in transparency for deputies on the job and people around the county.

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