Modernizing equipment, Josephine Co. approves in-car cameras for sheriff’s office

GRANTS PASS, Ore.– The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office is upgrading it’s fleet after receiving approval for in-car camera equipment. The upgrade is expected to cost tens of thousands of dollars but won’t be coming from the taxpayers.

Things continue to look up for the sheriff’s office, first with the public safety levy and now with new equipment. It’s the next big step for the sheriff’s office in becoming a modernized law enforcement agency.

Sheriff Dave Daniel says he expects these cameras to help make things more transparent with the community as well.

“You know our sheriff’s office is moving forward and we’re not looking back,” he said. “We’re gonna provide the service that our citizens demand of us.”

That effort picked up momentum Wednesday when the Board of County Commissioners gave the sheriff’s office the green light to buy in-car video cameras for its entire fleet.

“With today’s atmosphere and as many traffic stops and this and that and the other things our insurance carrier said it would be a really good idea to have these cameras on board,” said Dan DeYoung, Josephine County commissioner.

According to Sheriff Daniel, the sheriff’s office has been in a place for years where it wasn’t able to afford some of the industry standards such as dash cameras.

“Video camera systems are a standard in law enforcement today for obviously many reasons,” said Sheriff Daniel. “Being able to keep an eye on the deputies and making sure they are conducting business professionally – up to the standards that we think they should meet. Also the evidence that’s gathered.”

About 20 cameras from Axon Enterprises, Inc. will be purchased by the sheriff’s office. The total cost will be about $170,000,  covering the purchase and installation for the entire fleet as well as training on using the equipment. It also includes a five-year contract to, a cloud-based storage that will hold all of the video data and provide a seamless transition for the district attorney’s office to pull video evidence.

All of this however, won’t be charged to taxpayers.

“Checking with the sheriff’s budget, [Sheriff Daniel] had the money in here for these camera’s already in his reserve and we felt that was a really good place to spend these dollars and shore up our deputies,” said DeYoung.

The sheriff says it’s one more way to build a solid relationship with the community.

“You know, at the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office we’ve been trying to build trust and you do that through transparency,” said Sheriff Daniel. “You do that for professional standards, common practices, basic practices in law enforcement and that’s where we’re at.”

The sheriff’s office says it hopes to have the first cameras installed by July and continue rolling out newly installed cars, one-by-one, after that.

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