Sheriff’s deputies to begin using body cams paid for with extra LOST dollars

Published 8:30 am Thursday, November 3, 2022

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Editors Note: This story has been updated to say that LOST (Local Option Sales Tax) funding, not SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) was used to pay for the body cameras.

Troup County sheriff’s deputies will begin using body cameras on patrol thanks to unanticipated receipts from the current Local Option Sales Tax (LOST). The request to purchase the cameras came with several other funding requests for public equipment for the sheriff’s office.

“Troup County has never had body cams before, so this would be a new purchase for us,” County Manager Eric Mosley said. “That’s an additional level of accountability for our officers.”

Commissioner Lewis Davis asked why the sheriff’s office is just now requesting funds for body cameras. The LaGrange Police Department has used body-worn cameras since 2016.

Major Keith Flory advised that jail officers have used body cameras for some time, but they were never budgeted for patrol deputies or investigators.

Sheriff’s Office Purchasing Coordinator Tasha Hubbard advised that the jail body cameras were originally paid for using grant funds.

“They’ve worked so well with the jail and have eliminated a lot of our use of force in the jail, so we’re moving to take them to patrol and investigations,” Hubbard said.

“We’ve had body cameras in the jail for some time now. We have had patrol cars with cameras for some time,” Flory said. “The technology is getting better and better. We just see that it works. Now we know that they’ve worked out the kinks and we’re ready to move on.”

Davis said the cameras would protect the person being arrested, as well as the person arresting them from false complaints.

The cameras reduce use-of-force complaints because both sides know they are being recorded, Hubbard said.

Davis also noted that the cameras would help reduce the county’s liability from excessive force claims.

“The cost of one lawsuit could pay for these things,” Davis said.

Flory said the cameras will be a step forward in making things more transparent at the sheriff’s office.

“That’s not just me sitting here saying that to make it sound right. It’s true,” Flory said. “If everybody’s watching, people want to be on their toes.”

The commissioners approved the purchase of 51 body cameras and one in-car camera for $80,730. Ten of the body cameras will be used by the Troup County Marshal’s Office.

Additional public safety purchases that were approved include:

  • Four Raptor radar detectors from Galls for $5,000
  • Five Alco-sensor handheld BAC testers from Galls for $2,625
  • Twenty TASER systems with holsters and power packs from AXON for $35,963.91, eight of which will go to the marshal’s office.
  • Fifty handheld radios from Metropolitan Communications for $68,500
  • Sixteen replacement locks for the jail from R.R. Brink Locking systems for $17,602.50.