County approves contract for body cams


JASPER — Officers with the Dubois County Sheriff’s Office will have body cameras beginning in 2020.

At their meeting Monday, the Dubois County Commissioners approved a five-year contract with Utility Associates of Decatur, Georgia, for the company’s BodyWorn system. BodyWorn provides body cameras and recording services to police departments for a flat service charge that includes equipment maintenance and video storage in a cloud. The company also provides in-car cameras.

Sheriff Tom Kleinhelter first brought the proposal before the commissioners and county council in August during 2020 budget hearings. In September, the council agreed to provide the estimated $42,000 needed each year to enter into a five-year contract with BodyWorn for body cameras and car cameras for county officers. After the first of the year, Kleinhelter said, the officers will go through a training on the new camera, and the department will likely roll them out in phases. The plan, he said, is to issue each patrolman an in-car camera and a body camera, while detectives and school resource officers will have only body cameras.

“I think it’s going to let our citizens know our officers are professional,” Kleinhelter said. “It’s going to show we have a great group of officers that are doing the right thing.”

Kleinhelter said there was no specific instance that made him decide to pursue the cameras. He had spoken to other nearby police departments who were implementing the cameras and thought they’d be a good idea for his officers, too. He liked the BodyWorn program because it pays for a service, rather than the equipment. Under that structure, Utility Associates maintains the cameras and will fix the cameras should they be damaged.

SOURCE: The Herald